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Volume n, 1927 









The " Woodbrooke Studies " will consist of texts and translations 
of Christian documents in Syriac, Arabic, and Garshuni drawn from 
the manuscripts forming part of my own collection, which, for the 
time being, is in the custody of the Rendel Harris Library, Selly 
Oak, Birmingham. 1 

These Studies will appear first in serial form in the columns of 
the " Bulletin of the John Ry lands Library," which is published twice 
during the course of the year, in the months of January and July. At 
the end of each year they will be issued in a separate volume uniform 
with the present initial issue. 

Dr. Rendel Harris has kindly consented to write an introduction 
to each treatise in the series. 

I find it impossible adequately to express my feelings of grateful 
appreciation of the generosity of Mr. Edward Cadbury, whose finan- 
cial assistance and encouragement has made possible the publication of 
these studies ; and for that reason I take the liberty of dedicating to 
him this first-fruit of his generous encouragement. 

To my colleague, Dr. Henry Guppy, the editor of the " Bulletin," 
I offer my sincere thanks for his painstaking interest in the editing and 
publication of these Studies. 



1 The history of the collection will be dealt with in the introduction to the 
catalogue of it, upon which I am at present engaged. 



Introductory Note 

A Treatise of BarsalTbi against the Melchites : 

Introduction ........ 

Preface and Translation ..... 

Text in Facsimile ....... 

Index of Proper Names ..... 

Genuine and Apocryphal Works of Ignatius of Antioch 

Introduction . 

Preface and Translation 

Garshuni Text ....... 

Facsimile of the First Page of the Paris MS. 
Facsimile of the First Page of the Mingana MS. 
Facsimile of the Canon of Ignatius 

A Jeremiah Apocryphon : 

Introduction ........ 

Preface and Translation 

Text in Facsimile of Mingana Syr. MS. 240 . 
Text in Facsimile of Paris Syr. MS. 65 

A New Life of John the Baptist : 


Preface and Translation . 

Garshuni Text . 

Facsimile of Page from Mingana Syr. MS. 22 
Facsimile of Page from Mingana Syr. MS. 183 . 

Some Uncanonical Psalms : 


Preface and Translation 

Text in Facsimile of Mingana Syr. MS. 31 . 
























FASC. 1. 

(i) A Treatise of Barsalibi against the Melchites. 
(ii) Genuine and Apocryphal Works of Ignatius of Antioch. 




WE have been advised by our Master (whose name is Peace 
and whose admonitions are all of the nature of Benedictions) 
that we ought not to waste our time gathering grapes of 
thorns or searching for figs among thistles ; his words and warnings, 
no doubt, include in their scope our literary occupations as well as our 
theological studies or our philanthropic activities. Here, as elsewhere, 
wasted time and unremunerative labour are under His ban ; and it 
may, therefore, well be asked whether it is wise to spend our slender 
residue of years over extinct literatures, forgotten writers and churches 
that are near to disappearance (e'yyus d^avtcr/^oi), as the writer of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews would say, in view of the inveterascence 
which came under his own observation). 

We have before us a treatise by one who was once a great leader 
in the religious life and thought of the Syrian Church ; but his name 


is scarcely known in the West, and the church of which he was the 
leader has practically perished, its literature has ceased and has become 
the dryest of dry roots ; persecution has accomplished a disintegration 
which piety was insufficient to prevent. How many people know, or 
care to know, about Bar Salibi and his writings ? Why should we 
try to recall the author or search the dust heap of his literary remains 
for grains of possible gold ? 

When we have asked ourselves that question, there is one direction 
in which we immediately receive an encouraging response. Bar Salibi 
was not only a great ecclesiastic in a church that had passed its zenith, 
he was also a great scholar in the time of decline of the Syriac literature, 
and being a scholar as well as an administrator, he had a great library, 
which he knew how to use as well as to value. Alas ! that it has 
perished ! It had many ancient works of great worth, not only the 
original writings of Syrian fathers, but early translations made from 
Greek writers which have disappeared in the West. For instance, it 
is almost certain that he had a copy of the Diatessaron or Gospel 
Har?nony of Tatian, to which he refers and from which he quotes ; 
he had also a copy of a work of Hippolytus of Rome, called Heads 
against Gaius which was lost in the West ; its value can be inferred 
from its theme when the heads of the contention referred to are defined. 
There was a certain Gaius, who in the second or third century exercised 
his critical faculties, exactly as scholars are doing in the twentieth 
Christian aeon, over the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, and its 
irreconcilability with the authorship of the Apocalypse. Bar Salibi 
gives us many quotations from the lost Gaius, and helps us to see that 
this early devotee of Higher Criticism was not, as Lightfoot supposed, 
a mere phantom, a creation by Hippolytus of a straw-man for subse- 
quent demolition, but a real man of flesh and blood, with a powerful 
intellectual apparatus attached to his anatomy. 

The greatest of Bar Sahbi's works, both in compass and in variety 
is his commentary on the Scriptures covering the whole space from 
Genesis to Revelation, and filled with patristic matter both Eastern 
and Western. Complete copies are very rare, and we have the good 
fortune to possess the whole in one of our Woodbrooke MSS. It 
was this commentator's work that first drew the attention of Western 
scholars ; the portion of the commentary which deals with the Four 
Gospels was done into Latin by Dudley Loftus, in the seventeenth 


century, from a MS. in Trinity College, Dublin ; and in recent times 
the commentary on the Apocalypse, Acts and Catholic epistles, and in 
part the Gospels has been edited by Sedlac.ek in the series of Scriptores 
Syri. If we may judge from the parallel case of his successor Bar 
Hebraeus, there will, before long, be many theses presented for doctor's 
degrees in German Universities, from the commentaries of Bar Salibi. 

The treatise which we present in the following pages has no special 
scriptural interest ; it is ecclesiastical rather than Biblical ; but it has a 
value of its own, inasmuch as the controversy which it reflects throws a 
good deal of light on the relations of the Greek and Eastern churches 
in Bar Salibi's own day. It will bring vividly before us the facts of 
the subdivision of the Syrian churches and its three branches, in the 
days before the Roman church had invaded the area, and, in the in- 
terests of unity, made three divisions into six. We shall have before 
us the Nestorian or East Syrian Church with its God-and-Man doctrine 
of Christ, its noble protest against the deification of the Blessed Virgin, 
and its unparalleled record in the Mission fields of the far East ; next 
to them we shall have the Jacobite or West Syrian Church with its 
God- Man Christology, or as it is called by the wise, its Monophysite 
theology, its exaltation of the Virgin to celestial rank, and its defect of 
missionary zeal. Between the two lies a slender group of Syrian 
believers who have succumbed to the claims of the Greek theology of 
Antioch and Constantinople, securing their orthodoxy on the one hand 
by the acceptance of the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon, which 
made other Syrian churches excommunicate on one side or the other, 
and at the same time obtaining protection as well as patronage by 
attachment to the State church and the Imperial city. They are known 
as Melchites, or Royalists, and if few in number and confined to 
Palestine and North Syria for the most part, are an aggressive minority 
with the Ruling State and Dominant Greek Church at their back. 

We shall not hear much of the Nestorians in our tract ; they are 
too far East to be troublesome or troubled ; it is the little Melchite 
community that provokes the controversy reflected in the following 
pages of Bar Salibi ; the little man that is trying to put its arms round 
its big brother, and to annex him ; in reality a half-anonymous monk, 
one Rabban 'Isho', who seems to have been reconciled to the Greek 
Church and its theology and rituals, and who will have the great Bar 
Salibi in his embrace, and will prove to him that he is both insignificant 


and wrong, a terrible combination. We shall see presently the chief 
points of the appeal ; but it is as well to be forewarned, lest dis- 
appointment ensue. The matters discussed will not strike us as being 
of any great importance. Probably the reader will say, as he watches 
the two dogs over their bone of contention (as indeed happens com- 
monly in ecclesiastical strife), that, if this is Christianity, then I have 
little chance of being a Christian. The trivialities of ritual will have 
proper attention, the supposed decencies of liturgical usage and the 
like ; we shall know all about the war, and what they killed (or ex- 
communicated) each other for. When we have finished our study, 
we can set the infinitely little on one side, and estimate the value of 
what is left. We shall probably be impressed with the adroitness of 
Bar Salibi, but still more with his noble Christian spirit and temper, 
worthy of the Patriarch of half the East ; and, even if we do not feel 
drawn to his Monophyite doctrine, we shall be glad that he held it 
too tenaciously and too intelligently to be allured to its abandonment, 
by the bait of a personal attachment to, and promotion in a State 
church, which he knew to be a focus of increasing impurity, and 
political corruption. 

Now let us very briefly analyse the discussion of which Bar Salibi's 
portion is before us. Rabban ' Isho ' has written to Bar Salibi, a re- 
union tract to which the latter replies in ten chapters. The first condi- 
tion of re-union is that the Jacobites must learn how to cross themselves 
with two fingers, as do the Greeks and Latins ; and they must give up 
the practice of crossing themselves with one finger, which is a dangerous 
illustration of the Monophysite doctrine. They must also change the 
direction in which the crossing is exhibited, and no longer operate 
from left to right Further, in making such changes, Bar Salibi will 
find that he has gone over to the majority. The suggestion provokes 
a noble protest from Bar Salibi : '* May t we not be in the right with 
two or three ? " The discussion is continued over one finger or two 
fingers, and right-to-left or left-to-right crossing. It becomes very 
tedious, but the tedium is relieved by thejtheological implication. A 
spirited reply is made to the question whether Bar Salibi really believes 
the Greeks to hold the doctrine of two natures in Christ. Whether 
they believe in two natures in Christ or not, they believe most assuredly 
in serving two masters, Truth and Untruth. From Bar Salibi's point 
of view, that is the real heresy. He tells a tale of a philosopher, who, 


like the Vicar of Bray in the popular English song, changed his faith 
with every successive king. But, at last, unlike the profane Vicar, he 
realized that one must not change one's faith with the colour of the 
times, and besought people to " Pity the salt that has lost its savour ! " 
The argument over the two natures is resumed. Rabban 'Isho' is at 
his best when he argues for the comprehension of inconsistent beliefs 
in one corporate body ; did not the Apostle tell us not to judge 
another man's servant ? Did he not say " Pray for one another," 
and not " Anathematize one another " ? 

Bar Salibi has great reply to this seducing doctrine ; he points out 
that the Court Party at Constantinople do not practise the toleration 
which they invoke ; they expel our people from their city, burn their 
books, and suppress our Meeting-places. Away from the city, they 
rebaptize our people as heretics whom Rabban 'Isho' proposes to annex 
as believers. And such is their doctrine of toleration and the persons 
to whom it is applied, that, suppressing the Jacobites, they have actu- 
ally permitted the Moslems to build a Mosque in the city. One may 
judge the value of their charity, by the range of its application. It 
passes by the Syrian Christian and embraces the Moslem unbeliever. 

Bar Salibi goes on to point out that, although it is inconsistent on 
the part of the Melchites and their friends to curse and bless in this 
way, yet after all the power and faculty of judgment is Christian, and 
it follows that there is also in the Church a power of excommunica- 
tion. St. Paul is clear on the right of anathema. A spirited defence 
is made of the Jacobite position from the side of Ecclesiastical History. 
Rabban 'Isho' proceeds in favour of his doctrine that Christians are 
not to judge Christians, but that it is better to live at peace with every- 
body. Bar Salibi now turns the tables on his adversary ; he discloses 
the state of morals in the Imperial City and in the prominent church 
of the city, and shows what peace with anybody and everybody means. 
He has now taken the Puritan position, and refuses fellowship with 
murderers, adulterers, liars, and thieves. 

The light that is turned on the church of Constantinople is a fierce 
light indeed. He talks of an emasculated clergy, and of adulterous 
and vicious practices which naturally are associated with such contra- 
ventions of nature. " Like priest, like people ; " the city is full of 
outrage and villany. 

The argument now turns to the order of the Liturgy and the ex- 


quisite arrangement made by the Greeks for lections and for the tones 
to which the psalms and hymns are sung ; how beautiful to see such 
universal order and harmony ! 

Bar Salibi has a good deal to say on these matters, but he carefully 
points out that the church was antecedent to its musical services, and 
that the creed was before the metrical canons. In the beginning they 
had only the reading and interpretation of the Scriptures. The use of 
lustful melodies had not arrived. The Sirens had not come into the 
church. It was better to preach, teach, and convert, than to invent 
melodies like the Sirens, bray like asses, sing like nightingales or 
swans, and then finish up the day with such feasting as makes the 
occasion of sin. 

The glory of the new Rome is now emphasized by the Melchite. 
He quotes an apocryphal prophecy of Jeremiah about the Latter 
House, and the Latter City. This prophecy, he says, refers to Con- 
stantinople. Bar Salibi disputes his text, and denies his interpretation. 
Who goes to this supposed New Jerusalem to worship ? They go 
there to grub, and to buy and sell. Do they boast of their sanctities 
and relics, the rod of Moses and the ark in which it was laid, the 
picture of Christ on Veronica's handkerchief and the Virgin's robe, 
the right hand of John the Baptist, which they use in consecrations, 
etc. Bar Salibi makes short work of these relics and the use to which 
the Greeks put them. 

The argument now passes over to the question of authority in the 
Church : according to Rabban 'Isho', there is primacy in the church, 
and that primacy has been located by God with the Greeks. There 
is a prescription against Christians, just as there is against heretics. 
We were there before you. 

Bar Salibi wonders why, from this point of view, the Jews were 
displaced. He returns to his argument for the sanctity of two or 
three in the name of Truth. The argument now turns on the power 
and wealth which God has given to the Greeks, Mammon being 
called in as the chief witness to the divine election of the Greeks, and 
per contra of the divine reprobation (relatively) of the poverty- 
stricken Syrians. Bar Salibi has little difficulty in proving that 

" Gold and Grace did never yet agree ! 
Religion always sides with poverty ! " 


Mammon the prosperous leaves the witness box, and Lazarus and a 
crowd of poor folks occupy it. Bar Salibi comes into the box himself 
and holds up the Gospel. The case for the social and wealthy 
Mammon collapses. The argument is varied now from wealth 
to numbers. You Jacobites are very few ; a handful in Edessa, 
another handful in Melitene. Evidently they have been uprooted by 
God, and have lost their first acceptance and favour. It is otherwise 
with the Greeks, who are a prickly shrub that bears a beautiful 

Bar Salibi wishes to have a further definition of the rose of the 
Greeks. In what sense does Constantinople blossom like the rose ? 
Is it their elaborate liturgy ? The true rose is meditation and prayer, 
holiness, chastity, perfection. Does the Greek shrub bear these ? A 
further discussion is made on the sign of the Cross, and on the addition 
which the Syrians make to the Trisagion of the words "who was 
crucified for us." The Greeks interpret the Trisagion of the Trinity, 
Sanctus es Deus ( = the Father), Sanctus es omnipotens ( = the Son), 
Sanctus es immortalis ( = the Spirit) ? The Syrians refer all three 
classes of the Trisagion to the Son, and can, therefore, properly add 
" qui crucifixus es pro nobis." 

It is rather difficult to follow the argument which Bar Salibi makes 
for the Monophysite use of the Trisagion plus the added phrase qui 
crucifixus es pro nobis. 

It is an interesting study to observe how the Trisagion came to be 
regarded as a definition of the Trinity, and so to be inconsistent with 
the addition qui crucifixus es pro nobis. In the first instance it was 
Jesus and his Glory that were sought for in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, 
while the same chapter yielded the convincing anti- Judaic testimony in 
regard to the blinded eyes and hardened hearts of the chosen people. 
Of the antiquity of this testimony there can be no doubt, seeing it is 
employed by Jesus, according to the Gospel of Mark (Mark iv. 1 2) 
and by Paul in the closing sentences of the Acts of the Apostles, 
according to Luke (Acts xxviii. 26, 27). In the Fourth Gospel, we 
have this testimony expanded by the statement that " Isaiah said this 
when he saw his Glory and spake of him." This can only mean that 
there has been an identification of Jesus with the Lord Sabaoth or, in 
a sense that is common in the Targums, with the Divine Glory. 
Thus it was not the Trinity that the early Christians looked for in the 


Trisagion, but Jesus in Glory. In that sense it was quite proper to 
add " qui crucifixus es pro nob is." The addition could be made 
without any risk of a charge of Patripassianism or Pneumatopassianism. 
But what might be good theology in the first stratum of the deposit 
of belief might be quite the opposite when a further plane of theological 
definition had been reached. Bar Salibi retains what appears to be 
an early position in Christology ; it may, however, be doubted whether 
the Monophysites consistently did the same. In a Liturgy attributed 
to Ignatius, which Renaudot published, and which is supposed to have 
Monophysite leanings, we find the following Trinitarian interpretation 
and use of the Trisagion : 

Sanctus enim es, Deus Pater, 
Sanctus etiam unigenitus Filius tuus 
Sanctus etiam Spiritus tuus. 

We cannot, however, infer that in this Liturgy there once stood 
the ascription of crucifixus along with the adoration of the Seraphim. 
We will hand Bar Salibi over to the students of liturgiology and see 
what they will make of him. There is no doubt more to be said on 
the matter, in proportion as we know less. 

His concluding appeals to the Greeks to cease from persecuting 
the Syrians and the Armenians, to whom they are doing more harm 
than the Turks themselves, are written in an excellent spirit and like 
a true father in Israel. He concludes by a challenge to his opponents 
generally to meet him in a public discussion, when he proposes to 
clear up any remaining difficulties. We do not know whether this 
debate ever came off ; a priori we should have our doubts of its 
success ; in fact, the greater the success, the less in many cases the 
actual good resulting. Nothing so much narrows and dries up the 
heart as controversy does ; it must be admitted, however, that no 
controversial writer shows less sign of the threatened narrowness and 
dryness than our good Syrian father. 



The above treatise is followed by some stray documents, which 
profess to be related in some way to the person of Ignatius of 
Antioch, the martyr bishop of that great city. Around his name, 


as in the parallel case of Clement of Rome, there accumulated 
so much spurious matter, in the shape of interpolations and ad- 
ditions, that it is not to be wondered at, if in the first ages of the 
Renaissance of Criticism, doubts should have arisen whether any of 
the Ignatian matter could be referred to his time, place, or person. In 
our own time the author of Supernatural Religion, Mr. W. R. 
Cassels, declared roundly that " the whole of the literature ascribed 
to Ignatius is, in fact, such a tissue of fraud and imposture, . . . that 
even if any small original element exist referrible to Ignatius, it is 
impossible to define it " ; and made Dr. Lightfoot very angry by his 

We are afraid that the contributions which we are making to 
Ignatian literature will have to be classed with the Ignatian Apo- 
crypha, rather than with what Lightfoot shows to be canonical 
Ignatiana. Our first document, for instance, professes to be an actual 
epistle of Ignatius, who is carefully defined, against misunderstanding 
or possible confusion with later Patriarchs of his name, by the titles 
which belong to the first of the line, the designation of him as the 
God-bearer or the punning Syriac title of Nurana, or the Fiery = 
Ignatius. Even if the epistle should be condemned contemptuously 
as an obvious product of a later rhetorician, we shall be able to show 
that there are traces of genuine Ignatian expressions in the text. This 
leads us to the reflection that a possible motive for the composition, 
assuming it to be spurious, lies in the undoubted fact that a genuine 
letter, and perhaps more than a single letter, from Ignatius to the 
Church at Antioch, is actually missing. The proof of this is interesting 
and fairly complete. 

In writing to the Church at Philadelphia, Ignatius remarks that 
report has reached him that matters had taken a favourable turn in 
the Church at Antioch : he begs the Philadelphians to appoint an 
ambassador to take a message of congratulation to the Antiochenes. 
This must mean a written communication either from Ignatius or 
from the Philadelphian Church. The following is the text of the 
passage : 

Ign., ad Pkilad., c. 10. 

"Seeing that in answer to your prayer and to the tender 
sympathy which ye have in Christ Jesus, it hath been reported 


to me that the Church which is in Antioch of Syria hath peace, 
it is becoming for you, as a Church of God, to appoint a deacon 
to go thither as God's ambassador, that he may congratulate 
them when they are assembled together, and may glorify the 

Ignatius goes on to say that the good news had been brought to 
him by Philo, a deacon from Cilicia and by Rhaius Agathopus, who 
had followed him from Syria. Lightfoot suggests, from the language 
of Ignatius' letter to the Church at Smyrna, that he had already left 
Smyrna when the messengers from Antioch arrived, and that they 
then followed him to Troas. Assuming this to be the case, it is 
almost unthinkable that Philo and his companion should have had no 
letter to carry back from Ignatius himself, or that Ignatius should have 
advised the churches to which he was writing to despatch messengers 
and congratulatory messages on their own account, while he himself 
remained silent. There must be a letter or letters from Ignatius to 
Antioch, whether the Philadelphians and Smyrnaeans assisted and 
joined in the correspondence or not. The natural thing to happen 
would be that Philo and Rhaius should immediately turn back and 
carry with them the felicitations of the bishop to his own Church. 
Other communications require time and special official messengers 
The message to the Smyrnaeans from Ignatius is as follows : 

Ign., ad Smyrn., c. 1 1 . 

"Your prayer sped forth unto the Church which is in 
Antioch of Syria . . . it is meet that your Church should appoint 
for the honour of God, an ambassador of God, that he may go 
as far as Syria, and congratulate them because they are at peace, 
and have recovered their proper stature, and their proper bulk 
hath been restored to them. It seemed, to me, therefore, a 
fitting thing that ye should send one of your own people with a 
letter, that he might join with them in giving glory for the calm 
which by God's will had overtaken them, and because they were 
already reaching a haven through your prayers." 

Similar advice is given to Polycarp, as the bishop of Smyrna, and 
the suggested ambassador from Church to Church is described playfully 
as God's courier : the following is the passage : 


Ign., ad. Polyc., c. 7. 

" Seeing that the Church which is in Antioch of Syria hath 
peace, as it hath been reported to us, through your prayers, I 
myself also have been the more comforted, since God hath 
banished my care. ... It becometh thee, most blessed Polycarp, 
to call together a goodly council, and to elect some one among 
you, who is very dear to you, and zealous also, who shall be fit 
to bear the name of God's courier, to appoint him, I say, that 
he may go to Syria, and glorify your zealous love unto the glory 
of God." 

It appears, then, that two separate embasssies, and two separate 
letters are asked for by Ignatius. It is out of the question to suppose 
that he had himself nothing to say to the Church at Antioch. What 
he did say has disappeared. 

Now what was the matter at Antioch, for it is clear that there 
has been a storm either in the Church or against it ? 

Lightfoot takes it for granted that the persecution which made 
Ignatius its central object, had also affected the Church. In consequence 
many of the members had relapsed, and now there was good news of 
their return. Philo and his companions were, says Lightfoot, " doubt- 
less the bearers of the good news that the persecution at Antioch had 
ceased." This may be the correct explanation, but there are some 
things which suggest that there was trouble inside the Church as well 
as outside it and around it. Lightfoot further remarks that the Church 
at Antioch " had been previously weakened and diminished by the 
dispersion and defections consequent on persecution." That would 
explain the reference to the restored dimension of the Church ; but we 
must keep our eyes open for an alternative reason for the diminution 
of the Church membership. The document which we are here printing 
is an exhortation to priests and deacons to practise personal piety and 
not to be led away into immoral actions. It may be nothing more 
than a general exhortation addressed to all clergy ; but there are some 
passages in it which seem to suggest an individual priest who has fallen 
into sin ; the supposed letter suddenly becomes in the highest degree 
eloquent and personal. An appeal is made which begins with : 

" Who envied you, O chaste one, and made you a forni- 
cator ? " 


and the supposed faithless priest is addressed as 

"You dear and beloved ram who became the prey of a 
wolf ! " 

The person addressed has become a pagan, and is now "a 
mediator to idols : " and so on, with much eloquence and force of 
personal appeal, which the reader must estimate for himself. If it 
should be judged that the supposed faithless priest to whom the appeal 
is made has a real existence, the possibility will have to be reckoned 
with that there has been a factious and perhaps an immoral person 
among the leadership of the Antiochene Church, who may even be a 
rival and contemporary of Ignatius himself. This is, of course, a 
speculation which may not find support. In that case we should fall 
back upon Lightfoot's theory, that the persecution under Trajan had 
been general, as well as personal and particular. 

Now let us turn to the text of our document and see what we can 
pick up in the way of Scriptural references and possible local allusions. 
First of all we notice that in one passage, the writer quotes the Gospel 
in a harmonized form. At the beginning of the letter the impious 
priest is compared to the salt that has lost its savour. " If the salt 
has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned ? It is thenceforth 
good for nothing, neither for the land nor the dung, but it is cast out 
and trodden underfoot by men." This is a harmonization of Matthew 
and Luke. If we examine the Tatian Harmony, either in the Arabic 
of Ciasca, or in the old Dutch version of Dr. Plooij, we shall find that 
we have an independent harmonization, which does not appear to be 
derived from the Syriac of Tatian. 

The next thing we notice is that he is acquainted with one of the 
greatest of all Syriac writings, the Odes of Solomon. He opens his 
address to the Antiochene clergy, by appealing to them to 

" wipe off the dirt from your hearts." 

This is almost exactly the language of the beautiful 13th Ode of 
Solomon : 

" Wipe the dirt from off your faces, 

And love his holiness and clothe yourselves therewith." 

There is one expression in our tract which is distinctly Ignatian : 
the writer says : 


" We cannot avoid answering for all those he confided to our 
care ; the souls redeemed by the innocent blood of God, and he 
gave us a covenant that we should worship him and shepherd 
his flock." 

At first sight this looks like Monophysite language, but we re- 
member that it is also Ignatian. In the epistle of Ignatius to the 
Ephesians, in the opening chapter, the saint speaks of the Ephesian 
Church as 

" kindling into living fire " (so Lightfoot) " by the blood of God." 

There is, however, an objection to the description of the term 
" blood of God," as Ignatian. It is well known that it is implied in the 
language of St. Paul to the elders of the Church at Ephesus (Acts 
xx. 28) who are admonished to " feed the Church of God, which He 
hath purchased with His own blood ; " and on comparing the language 
of our tract, we see the reflection of the " shepherds of the flock " to 
which St. Paul refers. So it is just as likely that the expression is 
Pre-Ignatian as Ignatian, and perhaps we ought to describe both the 
Ignatian expression and the language of our tract as Pauline. 

On the other hand we have the similar expression in the opening 
of the Syriac Didascalia, where Christians are spoken of as " partakers 
in the sprinkling of the pure and precious blood of the Great God, 
Jesus the Christ." This has a very Monophysite appearance, and 
shows, at all events, that the term " Blood of God " is not theologically 

The next point that interests us, is that our supposed Ignatius is 
made responsible for the Wednesday and Friday fasts of the early 
Church, and the question must be asked whether there is an element of 
truth in the suggestion. It is not negatived by the observation that 
our document has the week-day fasts in an accentuated form, at least 
for the clergy the problem is to determine if the fasts in question are 
possibly of Antiochian origin. Of their antiquity there is no doubt, 
for they are in the Teaching of the Apostles : nor can it well be 
denied that they are originally anti-Judaic, since the Teaching says : 
" Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast Monday and 
Thursday, but do you fast Wednesday and Friday." The hypocrites 
are here the Jews and Judaisers. No reason appears for the choice 


of the particular days ; nor does there appear in the Ignatian letters any 
reference of the kind ; what does appear, however, is the anti- Judaic 
displacement of the Sabbath by the Sunday, as Christians are described 
as " no longer Sabbatizing, but living with the Lord's Day in place of 
the Sabbath." Thus the anti-Judaic element in the Teaching has its 
parallel in Ignatius. 

At this point a curious parallel comes to light, for which we must 
now turn to our second document, the supposed Canon of Ignatius. 
In this Canon there is a clear indication of the establishment of the 
weekly fasts, with an anti- Judaic reference. For instance, we have 
the curious statement that " we observe the night of Friday, because in 
it our Lord was seized by the Jews? It is further stated that on the 
night of Saturday they broke the legs of the robbers, in order that the 
Sabbath might not begin for them (which must mean the Jews), and 
that they might not be condemned in the eyes of the law (which must 
mean the Jewish law). Our Canon is, therefore, anti- Judaic, like the 
Teaching of the Apostles and the Ignatian letters. It cannot, 
however, be derived directly from the Teaching. Nor can it be 
derived directly from the seventh book of the Apostolical Constitu- 
tions, which works over the instructions of the Teaching. For here 
the anti-Judaic reference has disappeared, and the fast-days are kept 
in commemoration of the Betrayal and the Crucifixion. There is, 
however, some similarity of treatment ; each writer has the problem of 
explaining the change in the fast- days from the Jewish customs, but 
the explanations are not the same. We conclude that the Canonist 
is working on an independent line, and we cannot confirm his reference 
to Ignatius as his authority. 

Now let us see what can be made out of the explanations furnished 
by the Canonist. First of all we have the Last Supper referred to 
the night of Wednesday in the Passion week ; next we are told that 
our Lord was seized by the Jews on the night of Friday ; then that 
he descended into Sheol on the night of Saturday. We are to observe 
(which must in this connection mean, we are to fast) on Wednesday 
night and Friday night, and we are not to observe (that is, we are not 
to fast) on Saturday. There is much confusion here, which cannot be 
got rid of by reading " vigil " for " night," and making the vigil anticipate 
the next day. For the Last Supper cannot be put on Thursday, in 
this hypothesis, without putting the arrest on Saturday, and the descent 


into Hades on Sunday. The arrest of our Lord and his binding by 
the Jews must take place the same day as the Last Supper. To date 
the Last Supper on Wednesday by the Oriental hypothesis of making 
the day begin at sunset, would require that the Supper took place 
before sundown on Thursday, which is absurd. We cannot make the 
" night of Wednesday " into the " afternoon of Thursday." So we 
conclude that the Canonist has lost his reckoning ; his statements are 
inconsistent with the evangelical tradition. 

The reader will have noticed a reference to the patronage of Simon 
and John of the Church of Antioch, to which Ignatius is supposed to 
be writing. These two apostles, Peter and John, are invited to join 
in the lamentation over an apostate priest. It is certainly peculiar to 
have St. John associated with St. Peter in the presidency of the Church 
at Antioch. But there can be no mistake as to the intention of the 
writer, since, a little later, the unfaithful steward is addressed as a 
brother of Simon and John. Where shall we find parallel statements 
connecting these two apostles with the Church of Antioch ? 

While these pages were passing through the press two more 
Ignatiana were brought to light. The first is another recension of the 
Canon which we have discussed ; the second is a genuine fragment of 
the Epistle to the Ephesians, which does not appear in the collection 
of Lightfoot. So we have one more fragment of the lost Syrian 
Version recovered. 


(i) A Treatise of Barsalibi against the Melchites. 

I GIVE in the following pages the translation, accompanied by a 
critical apparatus, of a very rare treatise of Dionysius Barsalibi, 
the well-known West Syrian or Jacobite writer who died in A.D. 
1171. The treatise is indeed so rare that not even a reference to it 
is found in Baumstark, 1 and no acquaintance with its existence is shown 
by the early Syrian bibliographer who wrote a complete list of 
Barsalibi' s works. 2 

The treatise is in the form of a discussion with, or rather a long 
address to, a certain Rabban 'Isho', a West Syrian monk of some 
importance, who had evidently shown some leniency towards the 
Melchites, and was about to leave, or had already left, his own 
community to join them. He had written a long letter to Barsalibi 
on this subject, and it is this lost letter that has given birth to the 
present treatise. Barsalibi analyses verbatim his opponent's missive, 
and refutes it. As the author does not give any clear indication where 
his own sentence ends and that of his adversary begins, I have 
experienced some difficulty in following his argumentation ; but I 
believe that I have succeeded in overcoming the obstacles thrown in 
our way in this matter, but not without sacrificing to the altar of 
clearness my predilection for literal translations. 

I have, therefore, been compelled to mark in the translation 
Rabban 'Ish6''s text by the words : " You write " which are not in the 
text, and here and there I have added words and even complete 
phrases in order to make it easier for the English reader to follow 
the author's too concise, too disconnected, and sometimes obscure 

1 Gesch. der Syr. Lit., pp. 295-298. 
Assemani, Bibl. Orient., ii, 210-21 1. 


The " Greeks " assailed by Barsalibi are better known to us under 
the name of Melchites, who in the West Syrian Orthodox Church 
are generally styled " Chalcedonians," although the appellation 
" Melchites " is also very often ascribed to them. 

The Syriac MS. in which the treatise is found constitutes an in- 
tegral part of my own collection of Syriac MSS., in the custody of the 
Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham, where it has the class-mark Syriac 
MS. Mingana 4. It was copied in A.D. 1 895 by Deacon Matthew, 
from a very ancient MS. preserved in Tur ' Abdln, near the monastery of 
Dairuz-za'faran, the residence of the monophysite Patriarchs of Antioch. 
Because of the rarity of the MS. I have deemed it advisable to give a 
complete facsimile of its text, and refer in the footnotes of the transla- 
tion to some lexicographical and grammatical errors made either by the 
first or by the second copyist. An index of proper names will be found 
at the end of the work. 


We will further write the ten chapters composed by Dionysius, 
metropolitan of Amed, who is the illustrious Jacob Bar 
Salibi, against Rabban ' Isho'. 

The humble Dionysius, the servant of God, offers you his greetings 
and his prayers, O Rabban 'Isho* ; may you be in the keeping of 
Providence ! 

Any work from which spring good and gain for the souls of both 
the speaker and the attentive hearer, is not to be hindered or silenced. 
These words we write at the beginning of our discourse to you, as we 
have read your conciliatory treatise which stands between truth and 
falsehood in order not to hurt anybody's feelings. In another place 
we will deal with the worldly questions that it raises. So far as the 
spiritual questions which give life to the souls are concerned, it is more 
advantageous to strive after undiluted truth and avoid ambiguity, 
especially in our dealings with those people who twist the facts and 
mix straw with corn, water with wine, and all kinds of impure alloys 
with gold. The Apostle of the Gentiles has said : " Prove all things, 
hold fast that which is good, and abstain from any form of evil." ' See 
how Paul teaches us to prove and examine everything, and hold fast 

M Thes. Y. 21-22. 


that which is good before God, and flee from all bad things and false 
teaching, as from nests of snakes. 

We are also shown how a man can learn with certitude where 
truth lies : he must either follow one who is universally acknowledged to 
be wise and learn little by little from him, as Philip taught the eunuch of 
the Queen of Sheba, 1 or he must read studiously the Books of the 
Spirit and acquire from them the knowledge of truth. He who 
believes that he has attained truth from hearsay, or from the ravings 
of a seducer, or from the sight of an occurrence that happens to be in 
harmony with his beliefs, does not lean on truth but on a broken reed, 
on a shadow only. But it is time now to embark on our subject. 

On the Sign of the Cross. 

You wrote to us that neither from nature nor from any book did 
you learn to cross yourself with two fingers, but that you are following 
in this the habit of the Greeks, of the Franks, and of twenty-four 
other peoples such as the Iberians, Alans, Russians, Hungarians and 
others who cross themselves with two fingers. This, O Rabban 
'Isho', we will answer in the following manner : 

An intelligent man like you should weigh his words in the balance 
of justice before uttering them. If you have not acquired a subject 
from a book, nor learned it from nature, the two sources which 
embrace all the universe, how then can you neglect the truth of both 
book and nature, and follow something that is not based on any real 
foundation ? The Book says : " Remove not the eternal landmark ; " 
now if the landmark is nature and book, in rejecting them both we 
naturally trespass on the boundaries of truth. Christ did not destroy 
the law but fulfilled it, 3 and we 4 contend that we are not to follow 
nature and the law, but to step in strange paths ! Do we not fear 
then a rebuke from David who says : " When thou sawest a thief, then 
thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers." ; 
Among the peoples whom you have mentioned there is injustice, 

1 See Acts viii. 27. The author identifies Sheba with Ethiopia. 

' 2 Prov. xxii. 28 and xxiii- 10 (Peshitta). 

y Cf . Matt v. 1 7. 4 Sic Cod. 5 Ps. L 1 8. 


murder, immorality and many other abominations ; should we follow 
them in these ? Sound judgement forbids it. Even those people 
whom you have mentioned, if they do not prove the truth they hold 
from nature and book, no one will ever induce himself to listen to them, 
and their own followers will forsake them. But we who are right and 
possessors of the truth, will demonstrate to you that we are walking in 
the path of nature and book, and that is why we make the sign of the 
cross with one finger only. 

First, nature teaches us that the cross to which Christ was attached 
was not composed of double pieces of wood stretched in its perpendi- 
cular and horizontal side, as a symbol to the two fingers used by the 
Greeks in crossing themselves, but had only one piece of wood on 
each side. Further, the rod of Moses which was a symbol of the 
cross, was one and not two like that symbolized by two fingers. 
Finally, the crosses made of silver, brass and wood, and those found 
on the walls are not fashioned by the peoples you mentioned in double 
perpendicular and horizontal lines, but in one line only as the symbol 
of one finger. These arguments from nature will suffice, and we will 
now enumerate the arguments from book. 

That universal Doctor, John Chrysostom, clearly shows this in 
saying thus in the fifty-third discourse of his commentary on Matthew : 
" (Paul's saying) ' Ye are bought with a price,' " l signifies the price 
paid on your behalf, and it does not fit you to be the servants of any 
man. (Paul) alludes by the word " Price " to the cross ; you should 
not make the sign of the cross with the finger in a simple way, but you 
should first make it with will and with great faith ; and then if you 
print it in this way on your forehead, no vile demon will be able to 
prevail against you." : See how the Doctor speaks of one finger only 
and not of two or three. If we were to cross ourselves with two 
fingers he would have said " with the fingers " or " with two fingers." 
Further, when the Apostle Thomas wished to test the resurrection of 
the One who was crucified, he only desired to put his finger into the 

1 1 Cor. vii. 23. 

2 Here is the whole passage : " Pretio, inquit, empti eslis ; ne sitis servi 
hominum. Cogita, inquit, pretium pro te numeratum, atque nullius hominis 
eris servus ; pretium vero crucem vocat : neque enim simpliciter illam digito 
efformare oportet, sed prius voluntate et multa fide. Si hoc modo illam in 
facie tua depinxeris, nullus impurorum daemonum contra te stare potent." 
Pat. Gr. t Iviii. 557. 


print of the nails, because he said : " Except I put my finger into the 
print of the nails, I will not believe." And when our Lord revealed 
Himself to him, He said, " Reach hither thy finger." : See how the 
Book mentioned one finger only in the first and the second instances, 
and not two or several. 

From these we may learn that the act of making the sign of the 
cross upon oneself or upon the holy elements is not done with two 
fingers but with one only. The Greeks, however, who believe in two 
natures in Christ say : " We make the sign of the cross with two 
fingers because there are two natures in Christ." Against this we 
wrote at length in our controversial treatise against them ; here it will 
suffice us to say : If the natures in Christ are as separate from each 
other as two fingers are, they have no unity, and the Doctors of the 
Church who say that the Word was united to His flesh as fire is to 
iron, are in error. Further, two fingers, although separate from each 
other, are really one in substance (ovcri'a), and thus, in the contention 
of the Greeks, the eternal Son of the Father would be one in sub- 
stance with the flesh which is created and subject to time ; and this 
is blasphemy. 

We will further rebut the Greeks as follows : the cross teaches us 
that Christ, the Son, was attached to it in the flesh, while in His 
divinity He was neither extended nor attached ; but with two fingers 
you show that He was extended on the cross and crucified in His two 
natures. You are thus Theopaschites, because with the human nature 
you crucify God also. As to us, we believe that as Christ is one, and 
the cross is one, the sign also of the cross is to be made with one finger 
only ; and this we have learned from both nature and book. 

You write : '* The sacrament of the sign of the cross consists in 
the Word of God who became flesh and came down from heaven to 
earth, and removed mankind from the left hand and darkness to the 
right hand and light." 

We do not drive away darkness with light, as you write, because 
we make the sign of the cross from right to left ; everyone knows that 
darkness is the very antithesis of light, and that if the latter is mixed 
up in the former it becomes swallowed up in it in the same way as 
the bitterness of a little brackish water in a jug 3 of sweet water, or 

1 John xx 25. 2 John xx. 27. 

3 Read Mnaik'itha for mainoktha. 



that of a little myrrh or wormwood in a considerable quantity of 
honey. Let us admit that light drives away darkness, how can the 
left hand drive away the right ? Our Lord has said that He will set 
the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left ; l in this our 
Saviour demonstrated that the right cannot expel the left, but those 
who make the sign of the cross from right to left, move, out of their 
own free will, from the right hand to the left which is that of the 
goats, and are counted with the robber who was on our Lord's left. 
But see how in the consecration of the elements and in the final 
prayers of the service the Greeks make the sign of the cross like us, 
from left to right, and in this way they contradict themselves. 

You wrote : " twenty-four peoples use two fingers," but your 
number did not reach even ten. Do not listen, therefore, to some 
deceivers who say that we have with us twenty-four peoples. Further, 
truth is not always with the majority. Consider that there are seventy 
different peoples, and that those who follow the gospel are less numer- 
ous than those who are still pagan ; and no one pretends that because 
of their higher number, the pagans have greater right than we have. 
In the time of Abraham and Moses there was only one people, that 
of the Hebrews, who worshipped God, and the rest worshipped idols, 
and no one says that because of that the worshippers of idols had 
greater right than the single people of the Hebrews. This suffices for 
this chapter. 

A /so on the Sign of the Cross. 

You wrote : " What is the meaning of our making the sign of the 
cross with one finger ? Could we possibly have greater right than all 
others ? Christ ordered that every word should be established at the 
mouth of two or three witnesses, 2 and in our case there are more than 

If your words are true, it follows than wherever there are several 
people holding an opinion, they have more truth than one people ; and 
this leads us, as we wrote in the first chapter, to the assumption that 
the Gentiles had more truth than the Jews, and that Abraham was 

^att. xxv. 33. 2 Matt, xviii. 16. 


in error because he was the only one who worshipped God, and 
the numerous men, his contemporaries, who worshipped idols, were 
right. Our Lord's sentence : "At the mouth of two witnesses or 
three every word is established," has not the meaning that you attribute 
to it ; it bears exclusively on the fact that the testimony of a single 
witness should not be accepted against a culprit, lest he should be 
testifying falsely against him out of spite ; when, however, there are 
two or three witnesses, they could not testify against him in a biased 
way, but only truly and rightly. 

You write : " Is it not more advantageous that a man should cross 
himself in beginning with the right side, which is the side of light, and 
then pass this light over his face and with it drive away darkness, than 
to cross himself from the side of darkness and pass it over his face ? " 

If darkness and light are defined by the right hand moving 
horizontally, tell me what is meant by the first act we do in crossing 
ourselves, which consists in moving our hand in a perpendicular way 
from our head downwards ? You might say that the top movement 
means light and the bottom one darkness, and that a man first takes 
light and comes down to darkness, and then takes light again to another 
darkness. The Greeks would have thus two lights and two darknesses, 
and would begin with light and end with darkness. This theory of 
yours is not a happy one, and the single cross is not light in one of its 
horizontal sides and darkness in the other, but it is light in both of its 
sides. It is also advantageous that the end of all our works should 
be on the right hand, that is to say, good, and it is thus better to end 
the sign of the cross with the side of the right hand, and not with the 
side of the left which is, according to the words of our Lord, that of 
the goats. 

Further, we maintain that the cross of the Greeks has not only 
two lines in its horizontal side, but four lines. In the first act of cross- 
ing themselves they form their cross from top to bottom with two fingers, 
and then in making the horizontal part of the cross, they form it, also 
with two fingers, from right to left, and finally they return backwards 
to the right. The horizontal part of their cross has then two lines, 
nay, even four lines, in counting the two fingers. Those who, as you 
put it, had driven away the darkness of the left by the light of the 
right, return now from the light right to the dark left, and take over 
its darkness which they carry to the right, so that they become involved 


in thick darkness in both their right and left. If they were consistent 
with themselves, since they form their cross from right to left, they 
should have crossed themselves with the left hand, because in this way 
their cross would have been more natural and it would not have been 
necessary for them to move their hand twice over. 

Our ecclesiastical historians are in accord with their ecclesiastical 
historians in what they wrote concerning the Emperor Constantine, 
that at the hour of the day in which the sun was hottest, he saw in 
heaven a column of light in the shape of a cross, on which there were 
the words " By this sign thou shalt conquer," and after the pattern 
which he saw he fashioned the cross. Now what do the Greeks say 
about that column ? Was it in the shape of double columns, like the 
two fingers, or in the shape of one column ? If in the shape of double 
columns, two of which stretched perpendicularly and two horizontally, 
why is not the fact mentioned in any ecclesiastical history ? If the 
column of light was in the shape of one column only, corresponding 
with one finger, why should we not have greater right 1 than the 
Greeks ? And why should we not make the sign of the cross on 
ourselves with one finger 2 only, and from left to right as we, and not 
as they, do ? 

In administering the baptism even the Greeks make the sign of the 
cross on the child with a collyrium-pencil which has one point only 
and not two points, which would correspond with the two fingers, and 
move also the instrument from left to right as we do, and not from 
right to left. Had they not done so in this case even their cross would 
not have been straight but twisted. 

You write : *' As we heard and saw, all the Fathers and Doctors 
whose names I mentioned, whether they be Prankish, or Egyptian, or 
Greek, make the sign of the cross with two fingers ; and we have 
never heard that any of them has made it with one finger." 

You have not attained yet the age of seventy years, and conse- 
quently you could not have seen Athanasius the Great, Basil, Gregory 
Nazianzen, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, and others. We 
might believe you when you say that you heard, but who can believe 
you that you saw ? You should not, therefore, have written that you 
saw. If you mean that you saw their books, how did you then write 

1 Read Sharririnan for Sharrlrin (copyist's inadvertence). 

2 Read Sib'a for Sliba. 


previously that you had not learned this either from book or from 
nature ? Is it because you forgot what you wrote previously that 
you assert now that all of them made the sign of the cross with two 
fingers ? If you have heard and seen, tell us in which book and in 
which treatise ? So far as we are concerned we have already 
quoted you John Chrysostom, the glory of the Greeks, who refutes 
them and corroborates us. 

You write : " Since the Armenians profess one nature in Christ, 
why are they not ordered to make the sign of the cross with one finger 
only ? " 

Some of the Armenians make the sign of the cross with two fingers, 
some of them with three fingers, and some of them with all their hand, 
like the Franks. It is only those among them who are ignorant and 
mixed with the Greeks, who make the sign of the cross with two fingers ; 
but who can hold a discussion with illiterate and insensible people, 
except those who wish to throw their pearls into the depth of the sea ? 
Further, the Armenians did not remain united with us long enough to 
learn all the Christian sacramental customs ; after having accepted the 
dogma of one nature in the Word that became flesh, they left us and 
went after their own. They are somewhat inconsistent with their 
belief ; on the one hand they believe in one Lord, and in one nature 
in the Word who became flesh, and on the other they believe in two 
natures in Him, a proposition which they would readily reject, were 
they but told that it is implied in the act of making the sign of the cross 
with two fingers. 

You write : " We who make the sign of the cross with two 
fingers, do we believe in two natures in Christ ? God forbid that this 
should ever happen." 

If you do not believe in two natures after the union, how then do 
you make the sign of the cross with two fingers ? In your mouth you 
believe something, 1 and with your hand which makes the sign of the 
cross you believe something else. The Greeks at any rate assert that 
the two fingers symbolize the two natures in Christ. If this is not so, 
show us then the sacrament of the two fingers. How can you mix 
up two incompatible propositions in saying "We believe like the 
orthodox Syrians, and we make the sign of the cross like the Greeks ? ** 

1 Remove the dalath before mtddaim. 


This amounts to saying, " We accept truth and untruth." No man 
can serve two masters ; 1 if we have the truth with us, you cannot 
follow the others, and if the others have the truth, we are liars ; and 
if you pretend that both of us are right, who will believe you ? How 
can that section of Christians who believes in one nature that became 
flesh, and the other in two natures, and how can that section of them 
who makes the sign of the cross with one finger and the other who 
makes it with two fingers, be in harmony with each other and be 
equally right ? 

You write : " We should not reject the Greeks because they 
believe in two natures, since apart from us and the Armenians, and a 
few Franks, all Christians believe in two natures in Christ." 

It is narrated that a philosopher used to change his faith with every 
rising king. When eventually he repented and realized that it was 
not good to forsake truth and change with the times, he wrote : 
" Pity the salt which has lost its savour." O brother, no one in your 
position should say that he does not reject the Greeks ; if they are 
right and should not be rejected, your own people are, therefore, 
wrong and should be rejected ; and if the Syrians are rejected, no one 
will believe you also, because you are a Syrian from us and not from 
our enemies ; but tell us now, if you know, which are the two natures 
in which the Greeks believe ? The Franks and some others call 
natures the Word God and the body with a soul which He united 
to Himself, but the Greeks think otherwise, and their story on this subject 
is a long one, and not even yet quite clear ; if it ever becomes clear, 
I know and I am convinced that you will never accept any Melchite. 
Further, how did you assert that all Christians believe in two natures 
except us and the Armenians, while the Egyptians, Nubians, Abys- 
sinians, the majority of the Indians, 13 and the country of Libya which 
in the time of Dioscorus was composed of one thousand and five 
hundred parishes, 3 accept the faith of St. Cyril and St. Dioscorus, 
and of the great Severus. 

1 Matt, vi., 24. 

2 The word Indian in the mouth of a West Syrian writer often 
designates the Himyarites, or Southern Arabs. See my Spread of 
Christianity in India, 1926, pp. 11-14. 

3 Lit. thrones, chairs. The word Kursya commonly refers to episcopal 
sees, but who could believe that there were 1 500 bishoprics in Libya ? 


Even the Greeks when brought face to face with the words of 
Athanasius the Great and Cyril the Wise are put to shame and 
believe like them in one nature of the Word who became flesh ; l this 
is written in their books and they believe in it like ourselves, but they 
explain away the expression " one nature" and say afterwards "two 
natures " contrary to the teaching of the Doctors, and give a meaning 
of their own to the words used by Cyril the Great, and pretend that 
he really meant two natures, and this in spite of the fact that those 
Arabs and Persians of the East and the South who are Christians ' 
understand like us the doctrine of one nature in the Word who 
became flesh, and they are known to be Arabs or Persians by the 
fact that they are not versed in any other language but Arabic and 
Persian. Let now the subject end here. 



On his hidden Falsehood that has been Exposed and on how 
he is a Protagonist of the Believers in two Natures. 

You write : " Why should we have greater truth than all ? We 
do not agree with them in the matter of two natures, but we should 
not reject them and consider them as heretics." 

See how this discloses your intention to favour those who differ 
from us in their faith. I will now ask you a question : Are the Syrians 
right or are they wrong ? If they are wrong, why do you not reject 
them completely ? And if they are right, why do you not reject the 
Chalcedonians ? If you refuse to believe in two natures, you should 
reject also the truth of the orthodox Syrians. As light is opposed to 
darkness, and good health to illness, so that they are mutually 
repellent and cannot remain concomitantly in one place, so also the 
one who believes in two natures in Christ after the union is opposed 
to the one who believes in one nature in the Word who became flesh. 
You will not contradict that the two are opposed to each other, how 
then do you pretend that you do not believe in two natures like them, 

* I.e., presumably in one Christ, in one Son. Neither in the fifth nor in 
the twelfth century had the Christological terms of person and nature both in 
Greek and in Syriac the fixed meaning that we give them in our days. 

There was a considerable number of Monophysites in West Persia, 
and a still more considerable one among the Arabs. 


and at the same time not reject them ? You are like the one who 
holds the two ends of a rope and is unable to climb up with any of 

You write : " Why should we not accept them ? The Apostle 
said : ' Who art thou that judgest the servant of another ? To his 
own lord he standeth or falleth.' i He also said : ' Pray for one 
another,' 2 and he did not say ' anathematize.' ' 

Your words would have been very true, if only the Chalcedonians 
would listen to you. For your sake we shall compromise and accept 
them : but come now to Melitene which is not under their power 
and see how they tear at our people like wolves. Anyone who 
through his unstability and weakness falls (and joins them), they 
baptize again, and they openly call us 3 heretics and untruthful, and 
out of their own free will they do not allow anyone to enter their 
churches. I remonstrated several times with them, but because of their 
arrogance they did not desist. Were it not for a reason that I will 
not disclose, and for the fact that they would have been sneered at by 
outsiders, I would have revealed their falsehood, and they would have 
been despised by all ; but mendacity often succeeds. 

Now repair in your imagination to the city of their pride. You 
will see that it contains a mosque for the Mohammedans, but it has 
no church for the Syrians and the Armenians. Do they do this out 
of their good nature or out of their wickedness ? By their actions 
they show that the faith of the Mohammedans is better than the 
orthodox faith of ours. 

About a hundred years ago, in the time of Ignatius of Melitene, 
we had a church in Constantinople, but impelled by Satan they took 
possession of it, and their Patriarch of that time ordered our books 
that were in it and the church vestry, and the holy chrism, to be burnt 
in the middle of the bazaars. In that very night that Patriarch was 
struck by a sudden illness and lost his life. What do you say about 
these ? Glory be to the one who deprived them of their power ! 4 
If they had the power they would not have left a single Christian 
alive, as their fathers did in the times of yore. 

As to the quotation that you brought forth to the effect " Who 
1 Rom. xiv. 4. 2 Cf. Col. i. 3, 9; iii. 1 ; Heb. xiii. 18. 

3 Possibly read Ian for laih. 
* Through the Mohammedan Arabs and Salju^s. 


art thou that judgest the servant of another," it has not the significance 
that you attribute to it, and it has not been said of the heretics. If it 
were, we should not be allowed to bring an accusation against the 
Jews and the pagans, or to reprove the immoral people and the 
adulterers, or to punish the criminals, the sedition -mongers, the robbers, 
and the murderers. Will the Apostle come in these cases and tell 
us : " Who are you that judge these who are the servants of 
another ? " but for the tranquillity of your conscience I am going to 
disclose for you the mind of the Apostle. 

The Jews who had believed in Christ used to keep also the law 
of Moses, and not to eat the food that that law considered to be 
unclean ; but the Gentiles who had believed in Christ used to eat 
everything. A disturbance arose on this account between Jewish 
Christians and Christians. Paul then rose, strong in truth, against the 
Jews who had believed, and he maintained that food does not bring 
men nearer to God nor farther from Him ; why do you force, there- 
fore, the Gentiles to observe the old law ? and he further added : 
" He that is weak eateth herbs." He meant by these words that as 
you Jews are weak in faith you distinguish between this and that food 
(as a weak stomach does) with regard to herbs, but he who is strong 
in faith eats everything and despises distinctions between foods ; "let 
not him which eateth not judge the Christian that eateth, for God 
hath received him ; " ~ that is to say, He has made him to be related 
to Him and not to the law ; 3 you, therefore, O Jew, why do you 
judge him ? He is the servant of God, how dare you then judge 
him ? If he standeth, that is to say by faith, he is to his Lord and 
not to you ; and if he falleth, as you believe, because he does not 
observe the legal distinction between the foods, he is also to his own 
Lord. This is in short terms the meaning of the sentence of the 

As to your other point, that we are commanded to pray for one 
another, it does not mean that we are commanded to pray for a man 
to go astray from the truth of the faith and walk in error ; nor are we 
commanded to pray for this particular person in relation with that 
particular person, but only to pray in such general terms as : O God, 
call all men and bring them to Thyself. As to your saying " Paul 

1 Rom. xiv. 2. ' 2 Rom. xiv. 3. 

3 Put a lamadh before namosa. 


did not say : anathematize ;" but Paul did say : " If somebody should 
preach unto you other than that which we preached unto you, let 
him be anathema." What answer do you want us now to give to 
Paul ? He said : " Let him be anathema," and you say that we 
should not anathematize. 

Three hundred and eighteen bishops assembled once and defined 
the Catholic faith in the Father and the Son, and reached in the 
Credo as far as the passage " And in the Holy Ghost," and they 
anathematized Arms and Sabellius. Then one hundred and fifty 
others gathered together in Constantinople, completed the Credo, and 
said, " And in one Holy Ghost the Lord and vivifier of all, who 
proceeds from the Father," etc., till the end of the Credo ; and they 
anathematized the Macedonians. Then again two hundred and fifty 
bishops assembled at Ephesus in the time of the Emperor Theodosius 
and of the Patriarch Cyril, but they did not write a new profession of 
faith nor did they add anything to the Credo in unum Deum, but 
they said that the faith of the two previous Councils was sufficient ; 
and they enacted in the Synod a Canon of anathemas and curses 
against anyone who would introduce a new faith, or would add any- 
thing to it, or diminish anything from it ; and after anathematizing 
Nestorius and his teachers, 2 they went back. 

Then after a time the Emperor Marcian assembled that unholy 
Council of Chalcedon. The Fathers of it, however, did not follow in 
the steps of the Fathers who had preceded them, but through the 
pressure brought upon them by the wicked Emperor, and by his 
accursed wife, Pulcheria, and by other heretics who were present 
there, such as Theodoret, they trespassed against the anathema of the 
Council of Ephesus, and wrote a new Credo which begins : " We 
believe in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and in the 
incarnation of the Son." They thus made the Trinity a quaternity ; 
and then they defined the two natures. 

Now if the Greeks are anathematized, it is the Fathers of the 
first Council who anathematize them ; what blame then attaches to 
us from it ? Where did you hear in the faith of the ancients the 
mention of the two natures, which the Greeks have added ? Et 

1 Gal. i. 8. 

2 Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia. 


On the wicked Rites and Habits of the Greeks. 

Let us see what Rabban Isho' writes on this subject : ' We 
(Syrians) constitute ourselves the judges of Christians ; some of them 
we make pagans and some others heretics. What would be better for 
us to do would be to live in peace with everybody." 

Peace is a very beautiful and praiseworthy thing, O honourable 
one, but not all peace ; this is known from the sentence uttered by 
our Saviour ; " I am come not to cast peace on the earth but sword ; 
for I am come to set a father at variance against his son, and a 
daughter against her mother." ] Learn, therefore, that peace with 
immoral passions and with the enemies of truth drives us away from 
God. The theologian ' says : "A just war is better than a peace 
which separates from God." Examine well the saying of this Doctor 
who teaches us that peace with everybody is not advantageous. 

Now who makes the Christians pagan except themselves? A 
pagan is much better than a 3 Christian who forsakes the true faith 
and follows strange religions, and is unjust, immoral, adulterous, a 
murderer, a liar, or a breaker of the law. Go now to the Capital 4 of 
which you are so proud and see how much immorality prevails in it, 
and what is still more terrible, how they call immorality " father." 
Bring also to it with you foodstuffs of any kind 6 and see how they 
will steal them from you and swear that they have not done so. 

Let it be also known to you that the word " Greek" is expressed 
in their language by " Hellenics," which further means "pagan." 
What blame attaches to us from a fact to which they themselves bear 
witness that their true names are "Hellenes" and "Hellenism," 
which mean "pagan" and "paganism" respectively? The name 
" Romans " ' does not belong to them but to the Franks, and it is 
derived from the name of " Rome" their town, and Romulus, their 

1 Matt. x. 35. 

2 Gregory Nazianzen. Here is the whole passage : " Melius enim est 
laudabile bellum pace a Deo disjungente." Pat. Gr., xxxv. 487. 

3 Read aina for aikanna. * Constantinople. 

5 An obscene expression of this kind still survives in the vulgar par- 
lance of North Syria and Cilicia. 

6 Read meddaim for niadain. ~ Cf. Arabic rum. 


ancient king ; and the Greeks unjustly stole it from them. What 
does the word "heresy "mean except " heterodoxy," or holding of 
another theological opinion ? He, therefore, who adds to, or subtracts 
from, the theological opinion of the ancients is an heretic. So far as 
we are concerned we love so dearly our ancient Fathers because of the 
good habits and good laws which they have ; now what good habits 
do the Greeks possess ? Is it the habit of eating fish and drinking 
wine in Lent ? Or is it that other habit of theirs by which they rebel 
against God, and make men like women, in emasculating them, and 
defile themselves with many abominations ? What is still more 
terrible is that they ordain such men priests and bishops. Paul has 
said : "I permit not a woman to teach," l and what is the difference 
between a woman and a neutered man ? on the whole the difference 
is not very great. They have other perverse habits about which we 
wrote at length elsewhere. 

Which is the law that is observed to-day in their Capital ? Not 
one. There is in it nothing but iniquity, injustice and theft ; the 
strong in it beat the weak, and the rich plunder the poor ; their 
soldiers enter anywhere they fancy, plunder and rob and misconduct 
themselves with the wives of other men, who fear even to speak to 

You wrote : " They have arranged rites of prayers, canons and 
Gospel lessons for every festival, and have given eleven lessons to 
Easter ; and what they read here is read in every other Church of 
theirs. They have also composed Canons and Cathismata and 
stickera, and have written a book which turns on eight echadia. 2 

If one is obliged to follow them for the sake of these rites which 
you have mentioned, the Hebrew people had also similar rites ; 
indeed the Torah was not read by everybody, but only by the elders 
and the priests, and the prophetical Books were only read on some 
special days, and what was read in Jerusalem was also read in every 
country in which Jews were found, and their sacrifices were offered in 
one 3 place. David in his days set up twenty- four singers, every two 

H Tim. ii. 12. 

2 i.e. tones, tunes. The author refers here to the Melchite Octoechus. 
Further, Canons, Cathismata and Stichera are well-known prayers of the 
same community. 

3 Read bhadh for biyadh. 


of whom used to sing two hours and were followed by a relay of two 
others. Coclions ( = Cyclii) and various kinds of tones never ceased 
to be in use in the Temple ; and the Jews possessed other enactments 
and rites of a similar kind. Why then we Christians do not follow 
the Jews ? For crucifying the Son they were humbled in spite of 
their tunes and rites. It is not through catechismata and stichera 
that one will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but by means of 
good works and pious deeds : "The fear of God is the beginning of 

If the Gospel of the Syrians was different from that of the Greeks, 
the former might have been blamed. But when the Gospel is one, 
no harm and wrong can possibly attach to anyone who reads this or 
that lesson from it on a special occasion. Look at the community of 
Muhammad, their munddis or muadhdhins, when they cry, have the 
same words here and anywhere else, and none of them adds anything 
to them or subtracts anything from them, but no Christian praises them 
for this rite. Lo the Syrians also have arranged their prayers in eight 
tones, and they perform two echadia every week. Sundays are con- 
secrated to the festival of the Resurrection ; Mondays and Tuesdays 
are devoted to prayers for repentance ; Wednesdays are to the 
Mother of God, to the martyrs and the dead ; Thursdays to the 
Apostles and Doctors, to the Mother of God, to the martyrs, and to 
the dead ; Fridays to the Cross ; and Saturdays to the Mother of 
God, to the martyrs and the dead. 

The Syrians perform also every month the eight echadia like the 
Greeks ; and they have further Kabbelai Mar^ with the rest of the 
Kale, while the M^irane 1 with the rest of the iidakhraith are even 
supererogatory, and it was only the wealth of the devotions of the 
Syrian Fathers that induced them to arrange them as a rite in this way. 
See now how the Greeks have no special prayers for the night, apart 
from what they regularly recite in the morning and in the evening, at 
night, and in the day-time ; but the Syrians who are endowed with 
great wealth of devotions have also the Shuhlaph Kdla which was 
recited by the ancients, the Madhrashe", the Ma'nyatha, the 
takhshpatha, the ba'watka, with the rest of the KaU of itdakkraith, 

^ror. ix 10. 

2 This and the following words are names of prayers in the West 
Syrian breviary. 


the Greek and Syriac Canons, 1 and the 'Inyant. The fact that 
people of every country pray differently, and have something which 
singles them out from the rest, goes to their credit, first because it in- 
dicates the wealth of their devotions and spiritual vigour, and secondly 
because it is a sign of the incomprehensibility of God who wishes to be 
glorified in different ways in different countries and towns. 

Now you examine our Service Books and our penkyatha : 2 if you 
find in them mistakes or heresies, blame and rebuke us ; but if they tell 
the undiluted truth, why should they be blasphemous in their different 
bat 2 and Klnatha ? The Greeks also have different Canons, 
Stic her a, and Cathismata in different countries, and I myself saw in 
the books of the Melchites Canons which were at Antioch recited for 
the saints, but which were not so used in Melitene, and some others 
were substituted in their place ; and the same thing happens with them 
in other countries, as it happens also with the Franks, the Armenians 
and other Christians, Tones and words vary with countries and 

What harm is there in the simple service of Maksa ? It contains 
" mul turn in parvo," and has been arranged for the sick, and at one 
time, for the nuns. Now that it has been established everywhere you 
see that it possesses driving force, and fulfils all the requirements of 
the prayers directed to the Mother of God, to the Apostles, to the 
Fathers, to the Prophets, to the Martyrs, to repentance, and to the 
dead. " Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the Kingdom, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is 
in heaven." : 

Let it also be known to you that the Canons, the Cathismata 
and the rest have entered into the Church as something supererogatory. 
This is known from the fact that in the days of the Doctors, there was 
only reading and interpretation of the scripture in the Churches, and 
there were not found in it melodies and harmonious modulations which 
create lust in the hearers. When Bardaisan became insane and com- 
posed the Kinta? St. Ephrem was obliged to multiply the madhrasha 6 

1 The West Syrian Service Books have two kinds of Canons ; some 
are called " Syrian" and some others "Greek." 

2 Penkitha is the name of the West Syrian Breviary. 

3 Matt. vii. 21. 

4 Here : musical tunes and melodies with metrical compositions. 

5 Here : didactic composition in poetry. 


through which he destroyed Bardaisan's lustful Kinatha. And Mar 
Severus recited ma'nyatha against the poets and against the 'onyatha 
of the Greek Sustius. 1 And John Chrysostom arranged the stichera 
against the Arians who had composed 'onyatha through which they 
used to deceive the simple folk. The same may also be said of the 
Canons, etc., which really did harm to the Church, since they have 
been in it the cause " of the cessation of the reading and interpretation 
of scripture and the art of preaching. Show me if in the time of the 
Apostles there were musical tones and 'onyatha, apart from the read- 
ing and interpretation of scripture and the art of teaching and 

You write : In the penkiyatha 3 of the office of Lent it is said : 
44 Moses, Elijah and Daniel fasted ; " and in the office of Palm 
Sunday it is written : " The children glorified Him," etc. ; and in the 
office of the Passion Week there is : " Blessed is Thy passion, 
O Lord." 

Let it be known to you that the Syrian writers showed the 
mystery of every festival in the words of the office which they wrote 
for it, and they wove all its history in the Kinatha, in order to teach 
the hearers the mystery of the festival. It was quite legitimate for them 
to have written the office of the festivals and commemorations in a 
way that its prayers were directed only to penitence, but they wished 
to put variety in the ritual. If, for instance, the Fathers had not said 
in the breviary of the time of Lent that so-and-so had fasted, others 
would not have imitated the ancients and fasted ; if they had 
not explained how the wound of the sinners was healed, those who 
had the wound of sin would not have had recourse to any medical treat- 
ment and to penitence ; if they had not told how our Lord entered 
Jerusalem and was praised by children, the children would not have 
striven to emulate their praise ; if they had not concerned themselves 
with Zechariah, David, Ezechiel and the Prophets, one would not have 
known who prophesied about the Christ that he would ride on a she-ass 
and enter the Holy City ; if they had not written about Abraham, and 
his son, no one would ever have known that Abraham was the figure 

1 Sic Cod. Is he the neo-Platonic bishop Synesius (375-430) who 
wrote several hymns in Greek ? or is he Methodius the hymn-writer who 
died about 311 ? 

- Read frillathhon for millathhon. 3 Office books, breviary. 


of the Father, and Isaac that of the Son, who was offered as a sacrifice 
for us ; that Cain was the figure of the Jews, and Abel the figure of 
Christ who was murdered ; and that the vineyard was the symbol of 
the synagogue of the Jews. 

Now knowledge and not ignorance is necessary for the understand- 
ing of all these. The Hdhau 'Amm^ has been said by St. Ephrem, 
and he derived it from the prophet who said " Rejoice and be glad 
because your Saviour is mighty." ' The Train Talmldhe s is derived 
from the Gospel. You say that these two prayers have no driving 
power and no savour. If there is no driving power in the prophets 
and in the Apostles whose very words have been borrowed by the 
Fathers in the composition of these prayers, we will admit that the 
former have not got them either ; but if the prophets and the Apostles 
are believed in and accepted by all Christians, we must also accept the 
Fathers and not rebel against the truth. Et cetera. 


On how tones and melodies do not bring any profit to those who 
sing them and those who hear them. 

Now let us come to the remaining part of what you wrote on this 
subject : " To-day that you are the Father of the Syrians and the son 
of ... the rest of your encomium it is not necessary to quote- 
collect all the service books of the Church and write from them all 
one good book of Octoechus* 

What you have mentioned has been arranged by the ancient 
Fathers in the matter 6 of Ma'niyatha and the service of nocturns, as 
we have stated above. The Church, however, is in no need of them, 
and I would suggest to you and to every God-fearing man that instead 
of canticles and prayers containing musical melodies which bring no 
profit to the singer nor to the hearer, to make use of the Books of the 
Old and New Testaments and the writings of the Fathers, and to 
read a chapter from each one of them at every festival. Both the 
reader and the hearer will derive profit from these lessons. Be 

1 Beginning of a prayer which means : " Peoples rejoice." 
2 Cf. Is. Ix. 16 and Ixv. 18, etc. 

3 Beginning of a prayer which means : " Two disciples." 

4 Lit. eight echadia. 5 Read bsharba for bsharka. 


concerned with this good work rather than Canons. The Apostle 
Peter said : "Be ready to give answer to every man that asketh you 
a reason concerning the hope of your faith ; " l and the Apostle Paul 
said : "In the Church I had rather speak five words with my under- 
standing than ten thousand words." And : " Cry with thy throat, 
spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their 
transgression, and the children of Israel their sins." ' It is not good to 
forsake the words of God and do good worldly service at the altar. 

You see how the Prophets and the Apostles exhort us to read, 
interpret, preach and teach the mysteries of the faith, and convert any 
one who is against us, and not to sing and to contrive musical melodies 
like sirens, nor to bray like asses, nor to utter sweet sounds like 
nightingales, nor to sing like swans, nor to coo like doves, nor should 
we institute to-day a feast for so-and-so, and to-morrow another feast 
for so-and-so, and in this open our stomachs to excessive food, and 
broaden our gullets to drink, and thus pander to the proclivities of our 
alimentary desires and minister to occasions of sin and say : " To-day 
is a feast, we must therefore eat and drink." To pagans belong 
festivities, songs, dances, banquets and drink, and to Christians fasting, 
prayer, and reading of scripture. In their festivities the Greeks 
resemble, therefore, those who are outside our sheepfold. 

Let it be also known to you that musical tunes and melodies with 
Canons, stichera and the rest of them have come down to the Greeks 
from outsiders, that is to say from the pagan Odysseus who having 
experienced the sweetness of the song of sirens which dwelt in the sea 
of Scylla, perceived a desire to learn it ; and because these sirens sang 
men used frequently to throw themselves into the sea, bewitched as 
they were by their song, and were eaten by them. Odysseus, however, 
resorted to a stratagem : he plugged with wax the ears of the sailors, and 
some men tied him and his companions with chains of iron, and they 
floated on the sea. When the sirens saw them they began to sing 
songs of various melodies, but those men whose ears were plugged did 
not hear the sweetness of the song, and those who were attached with 
chains of iron could not throw themselves into the sea because of their 
being strongly tied, and so they little by little learned the melodies 
and introduced 4 them to mankind. Examine, then, the origin of the 

M Peter iii. 15. 2 1 Cor. xiv. 19. 

3 Is. Iviii. 1 . * Change the yodh into a waw. 



melodies. It is really the sirens which have to take pride rather than 
the Greeks. 

You say : " It is not fair to make other Christians heretics, and to 
call ourselves orthodox people." 

If Christians were such as they, what would you be yourself ? If 
you answer that you are a Christian, rise up and go to them and see 
what they will call you. If they are not heretics, then the Syrians are. 
If you pretend that both sides are right, no one from either side will 
believe you, neither from our side nor from the side of the adversaries. 
They call us heretical Jacobites, and we call them Chalcedonians, 
Nestorians, and heretics. If you have enough power in you like your 
namesake Joshua, 1 son of Nun, to reconcile them with one another, 
we ourselves will help you in everything. But what union is there 
between light and darkness ? Many believed that it would be good 
to join the adversaries, but this has proved a stumbling block to them 
and finally their downfall. When Ahab had pity on Benhadad and 
saved his life, God got angry with him and with his people, and he 
was rejected from power, and Hazael 2 killed him. 3 

You write : " My heart does not allow me to anathematize 
anyone, not even Nestorius and his companions. If I do not accept 
them it is solely because they are alien to, and rejected from, the 
Church of God." 

I am tempted to be amazed at your simplicity, O brother, how it 
easily contradicts itself. You contended that your heart 4 does not 
allow you to anathematize Nestorius and his companions, and you have 
at the same time unknowingly anathematized him. Anathema is a 
separation from God, and when you have separated them from the 
Church and rejected and denounced them, you have anathematized 
them. Do you then believe that anathema means anything else ? 
The word " anathema " is used in two meanings. The first meaning 
is found in the sentence of Moses : " every ' anathema ' 5 which is 

1 In Syriac Is ho 1 renders both "Jesus" and "Joshua." 

2 For Samuel of the MS. 

3 Cf. 1 Kings xx. 31 sqq. ; 2 Kings viii. 15. "Him" means Benhadad. 

4 Read libbakh for lakh. 

5 In Syriac the same word hirma is used in the Scriptural passages used 
below, and means both "anathema" and "offering, vow, sacrifice." This 
distinction is a favourite theme of some Jacobite writers. See Pseudo- 
Philoxenus in my Early Spread of Christianity in Central Asia, 1925, 
p. 61. 


* anathematized ' by a man." ] Here " anathema " means " vow " : 
i.e. every vow vowed by a man. The second kind of anathema is 
that spoken of by Paul : "He who does not love our Lord Jesus 
Christ let him be anathema." : The first " anathema " means " vow " 
and "sacrifice," and the second anathema means "separation from 
God " and " rejection from the Church of God." This last kind of 
anathema is the one used by the Doctors against the heretics. 

You write : "The Greeks have a heavenly King, and God gave 
them also an earthly king, how can they not be proud ? " 

It is written that we cannot serve two masters, 3 O brother. If 
they call God their King, they are deprived of an earthly king ; and 
if they seek the earthly one, they forsake the heavenly one. This is 
also known by what God said to Samuel : In asking for an earthly 
king, the Jews " have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me," 
Creator and God, "that I should not reign over them."' You see 
how 5 God Himself decreed by His words that any one who has an 
earthly king is deprived of the heavenly one. We follow the words 
of God, and do not contend that a man has two kings ; if it was so 
he would be bound to " love the one and hate the other, and hold to 
one and despise the other." 

Every pride in an earthly kingdom is from the evil one ; it is he 
who overcomes the passions and lays the body under the power of the 
soul who is a king. Further, other Christian peoples have also kings, 
and they do not for that take pride in their souls, and the Persians 
and the Arabs have all kings, and we could not say that they have 
greater right than we have. The true kingdom is that which is 
established in orderliness and virtue, as in the times of Constantine, 
Theodosius and the rest of the Roman kings, that is to say the kings 
of the Franks. Now look back at the kings of the Greeks of our 
days, how they commit adultery and fornication more than the pagan 
kings. When they are ordered not to take two wives, they take 
them. And enter their Metropolis, and you will see in a love of 
money, which is the root of all evil,' and coveteousness which is 

1 Num. xxx. 2. - 1 Cor. xvi. 22. 3 Matt. vi. 24. 

4 1 Sam. viii. 7. 5 Eliminate one aikanna. 

6 The author is at some pains to distinguish between " Romans " whom 
" he calls Franks " (Arab. Rumamyun, Syr. Romaye), and " Byzantines " 
(Arab. Rum, Syr. Romaye, Yaunaye) whom he calls " Greeks." 

7 1 Tun. vi. 10. 


idolatry, 1 and unbounded adultery, not only among laymen and 
lay women, but also among the clergy. No king, no head, and no 
superior can stop them. Their bishops are likewise covetous, and 
they pile up gold like stones, and they enjoy material things, and 
wear fine linen and purple instead of wool. 2 They ride also on 
powerful mules and bathe in the public baths like women, and relish 
different kinds of food. Faith without works and good conduct is 
dead. 3 El cetera. 


Against the Pride of the Chalcedonians, and on the Building 

of their Capital. 

Let us proceed now with haste and examine the fallacy of the 
Greeks on this subject. 

You write : ' The beautiful Metropolis which Jeremiah has 
foreseen when lamenting over Jerusalem is our Metropolis. God 
showed him her towers, her beauty, her ramparts, and her buildings 
and said to him : ' Do not weep over Jerusalem, lo I have found a 
house better than Jerusalem, and I will bring all people and all 
tongues to its glory ; M and it happened as he said." 

To whom shall we now speak, and on whom shall we pour our 
wrath ? On those who foolishly utter fallacies like these, or on 
people 5 who listen to them ? In what passage did Jeremiah prophesy 
about Constantinople, and who is the commentator who understood 
it in that sense ? Jeremiah was taken to Egypt ; and according to 
some people, he even composed his Lamentations over Jerusalem in 
Egypt. It is not written in the Lamentations that he prophesied 
about the Metropolis, nor about a town that would stand on its site. 
If they are so untruthful in palpable subjects like this, how much 
more will they be so on the subject of faith which is thinner that a 
hair ? 

\ Col. iii. 5. 

2 Or : sackcloth. A wool garment is an emblem of poverty and 
penitence. Cf. the word Sufi (from which the Mohammedan Sufis, and 
Sufism) which means "woolly " from Suf" wool." 

3 Jas. ii. 17. 

4 There is no such passage in the Lamentations. 

5 Read aw 'a! for akh-d. 


They raved also another falsehood to the effect that it was 
Euphemia the martyr who gave them the articles of faith of the 
Council of Chalcedon. In this they show that they have received 
their faith from a dead woman ; and to this effect they even hang in 
their Churches the picture of something which is unreal. The fact is 
that the Council assembled in the temple of Euphemia, and the 
Tomos of the unholy Leo and the other book containing the articles 
of faith were laid in the font of the saint ; but it is nowhere written 
that the saint rose from the dead and confirmed them ; what they are 
uttering is pure lie, and their powerful pillars, and the enemies of the 
truth, such as Joannes Damascenus, Theophilus, and Theodore of 
Harran did not write these lies, I mean the untruth concerning 
Jeremiah and Euphemia, because they knew that they were lies. 
Damascenus, however, indulged in another falsehood in writing that 
a child rose up to heaven and heard the angels say : " Sanctus es 
Deus, Sanctus es Omnipotens, Sanctus es Immortalis" without the 
addition: Qui crucifixus es pro nobis? Against this we wrote at 
length (in another book) and we reproved him and showed that " no 
man hath ascended into heaven but he that descended out of heaven." 
We rebuked them that their faith has come down to them from a 
woman, and that their trisagion has emanated from a child not yet in 
his full senses, and not from an angel or a man in his full senses. 
You, however, believe not the untruth 3 that they have uttered against 
the Armenians. 

Constantinople was built in the time of Manasseh by the brothers 
Byzantion, and it was a pagan town, which had no fame till the 
days of Constantine who repaired to it and enlarged it. 

You say that it is written : "I will bring to it all peoples and 
tongues for worship," to which we will answer : not the Christian, 
but the pagan, peoples. We have heard that peoples and tongues 
went to Jerusalem for worship ; and to the town you are mentioning 
no one ever went for worship, but only on business. Further, when 
did Christians ever repair to it for the sake of honour ? They went 
to it only to grub, and to buy and sell. It is frequented mostly by 
Persians, Arabs, and barbarous and godless peoples, such as Rumanians 

1 See the story in Joannes Damascenus, De Fide Orthodoxa, cap. HT., 
Tol. i., p. 219 (edit. Lequien). 

2 John iii. 1 3. 3 Which untruth ? 


and Hungarians, who have enriched it with gold, silver and precious 
stones. Lo, Bagdad, Cairo, and other towns of the kingdom of the 
Arabs are richer in gold, silver and precious stones, and we do not 
say that they have more truth than we have. 

Listen now to Gregory, how he rebukes those who are rich in 
gold : " Against those who have gold and silver, we have a pure 
speech ; against those who have churches, we possess the One who 
dwells in them ; against those who have temples, we possess God and 
we are His living temples ; and against those who have multitudes, 
we have angels." 

You write : " God has gathered together and brought to it 
prophets, apostles, and martyrs, so that none of them is outside it." 

This also is untrue. James, the brother of our Lord, is buried in 
Jerusalem, and James, son of Zebedee, is in the west, south of the 
city of Rome ; Peter and Paul are in Rome, and John, son of 
Zebedee is buried in Ephesus, where also is the mother of God. The 
Apostle Thomas was buried in India, and his bones were transferred 
to Edessa. Ezechiel and the three children 1 are in Babylonia with 
Daniel, and the prophet Isaiah is in Jerusalem. The rest of the 
prophets and apostles are likewise in all directions, and all are not in 
the Metropolis. As to St. Basil, all the Emperors strove to transfer 
his bones from Caesarea to the Metropolis, but they did ' not succeed. 
The great Meletius 2 was transferred from the Metropolis to Antioch. 
As to the wood of the Holy Cross, it was in Jerusalem, and in the 
time of Shahrbaraz and Chosrau it was carried to Persia, and in their 
time also it was brought back and sawn in the middle, and half of it 
reached the Metropolis. 

You write : " And also the rod of Moses and the staff of Aaron, 
and the ark." 

O deceivers and liars ! How they deceive the simple folk to 
make them accept their teaching ! In the ark were the rod, the staff, 
and the golden pot holding the manna. This ark and all the 
sacraments that it contained Jeremiah took out and hid in a cave : and 
from that day up to now no one has ever known their exact place. 
We know this from the Book of Maccabees and from other Doctors. 

1 Lit. Companions of Hananiah. 

2 Meletius of Antioch who died in 38 1 . 


You write : " And also the twelve baskets, and the veronica, 
and the robe of the mother of God." 

From the time of the Economy of Christ to that of Constantine, 
there are more than three hundred years, and in that time kings were 
pagan, and Christianity was not yet in plain light ; who, therefore, 
collected the above sacred objects for the Greeks ? So they are also 
liars in this matter ; they have neither the baskets, nor the crown of 
thorns for which they have fabricated one of nails nor the swad- 
dling clothes of Christ, as they rave. It is possible that the existence 
there of the veronica is true, but who stole the robe of the mother of 
God and brought it to them, and left the Virgin naked ? Fie, the 
madness ! All the sacred objects were in Jerusalem, but when the 
Jews transgressed the commandments and the law, they were taken in 
captivity, and Jerusalem was destroyed ; the ark also and the tables 
of the Covenant were carried away by the Philistines : their pride, 
therefore, in these things is that of ignorant and not of intelligent 

As to the right hand of John the Baptist by which they sanctify 
the holy chrism, do not follow blindly after children, O brother ! 
Tell me this : when Herodias took the head of John the Baptist in a 
charger, 1 what profit did she get out of this gift ? Was it not a loss 
that she sustained ? It is the good actions of a man that give him the 
right to be worthy of John's fellowship, and not the fact that he 
possesses great things for which he does not care. To a pig pearls 
and muck are on the same level. Many asses of merchants carry 
precious things from which they derive no profit whatever. 

Concerning John the Baptist, Theodoret, the helper of the Greeks, 
wrote that in the days of Julian the Apostate, pagans took 2 his bones 
from the urn and burned them. 3 John of Asia 4 also wrote that in the 
time of Justinian one of the prefects of Palestine who was like a pagan 

1 Mark vi. 2S. - Add a ivau to the verb. 

3 Here is the whole passage of Theodoret ; " Sebastae vero, quae et 
ipsa ejusdem est gentis, Joannis Baptistae arcam aperuerunt, et, ossibus 
combustis, cinerem dissiparunt." Pat. Gr., Ixxxii. 1091. 

4 It is the Syrian historian John of Ephesus. I failed to see this passage 
in the fragments that have come down to us from the great historical work of this 
Syrian writer, as published by Land (Anecdota Syriaca, ii., 289-329, and 
385-391) and by Cureton (The Third Part of Ecd. Hist, of John Bishop 
of Ephesus, 1853). 


in his conduct, sent a right hand to the Metropolis and said that it 
was John the Baptist's. Many were suspicious about it and said that 
it could not be true. It was, however, accepted by the Emperor and 
the people as true. 1 Where is it written that the holy chrism should 
be sanctified by the right hand of John ? The Greeks that are 
amongst us rave that they mix the blood of Christ with the holy 
chrism. The Apostles and the Doctors have ordered that the holy 
chrism should be composed of different elements and be sanctified by 
the prayers of the bishops and the people, and these pretend that it 
contains the blood of Christ ; which is untrue. This would make 
them resemble the Jews who said : " His blood be on us and on our 
children." : And they are being baptized by this same blood ! 

If the holy chrism is sanctified by a dead right hand, they are, 
therefore, being baptized by a dead man ; because although St. John 
be living to God, he is so in his soul, while in his body he is so far 
dead, and he has not yet resuscitated. How can the right hand of a 
dead man sanctify the holy chrism ? Why ! this is not a great affair, 
since their ordination also emanates from a dead man ! Indeed they 
used to receive for some time their bishops from Rome, but when 
trouble arose between them and the Franks, Rome did not give them 
any bishop ; and it was after many frays and bickerings that they gave 
them a bishop, but when the messengers who were bringing him 
reached the city of Heraclea in Thrace, he fell ill and died. They 
were then in great pain and sorrow, and fearing lest the Romans 
should require the ordination of another bishop from them, they 
resorted to a stratagem and brought a man and laid the hand of the 
dead bishop on his head and ordained him. They decreed also that 
in future it is the bishop of Thrace that shall lay the right hand on 
the head of all the bishops of the Capital. This custom they observe 

1 Concerning the recent opening of the new Museum of Constantinople 
the correspondent of the Manchester Guardian writes, under the date of 
24 January, 1927, as follows : " Some interesting reliquaries are displayed, 
including from Byzantine times a gold and jewelled section of the cranium 
of the traditional head of St. John the Baptist, and a gold forearm showing 
part of the bones of the back of the Saint's hand. They were taken from a 
Christian Church by Mohammed the Conqueror, and have been preserved in 
the Treasury ever since." 

Manchester Guardian, 2 February, 1927. 

3 Matt, xxvii. 25. 


down to our own days, and on it we have written elsewhere in 
several places. 

You write : "So far as we are concerned whom have we but SS. 
Barsauma and Aaron ? " 

What shall we say to a mind glued to earthly things ? As to us 
we have our beloved, 1 the Lord of heaven and earth ; it is He, the 
Lord of heaven and earth and holy sacraments who said : ' Where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the 
midst of them ; " and who spoke through the prophet : I do not 
count heaven and earth, " where is the house ye build unto me ? " 
and who proclaimed in the mouth of Isaiah : ' To whom shall we 
look and in whom shall I dwell except him who is peaceful and 
humble," and fears my word. 4 You will see, if you reflect, whom 
we have ! He is indeed St. Barsauma ! Listen also to St. John 
Chrysostom how he rises against those who take pride in such things ; 
he said in the eighty- second chapter of his commentary on Matthew : 
" How many men there are now who say ' We wish to see the face 
of Christ, His image, His dresses, and His shoes ; ' but lo you are 
seeing Him, and you are holding Him ; you are eating Him, and 
you are wishing to see His dresses ! He did not give Himself to you 
in order that you may only see Him, but that you may also touch 
Him, eat Him, and receive Him in yourself." ' 

What would you say about this quotation ? Did it not confute 
and destroy all that you wrote ? Did it not put an end to all the 
pride of the Greeks ? Do not err, therefore, after them, but follow 
in the steps of your fathers. Et cetera. 

1 Or possibly : O our beloved ! 

- Matt, xviii. 20. " Isa. Ixvi. 1 , with slight changes. 

4 Isa. Ixvi. 2, with slight changes. 

Here is the whole passage : " Quot sunt qui modo dicunt : vellem ejus 
formam, typum, vestimenta, calceamenta, videre? Ecce ilium vides, ipsum 
tangis, ipsum comedis ; et tu quidem vestimenta videre cupis ; ipse vero 
seipsum tibi dat, non videndum modo, sed tangendum, comedendum, intus 
accipiendum." Pat. Gr. t Iviii. 743. 


On the fact that he made the Greeks the head of all Christians. 

Let us go on with our investigation of the words of this 
writer * and see how he inclines to all winds, and how he possesses 
zeal and kindness, but not in the sense in which the Apostle intended 
these to be. 

You write : " Why should we blame them ? If they blame us it 
is because we did not obey them when they were right. It is written : 
" The superiors of the peoples are their superiors." 2 

How well has Esau 3 been tested and his hidden mind disclosed ! 
In everything that you have propounded you have shown 4 that you 
are not holding your faith from conviction but out of hypocrisy. On 
the one hand you persuade us not to blame those who out of their 
own free will have trampled on the anathemas of the Synod of 
Ephesus and decreed another canon. On the other hand you gave 
them authority to blame us on the score that they are our superiors 
and directors. Show us where you get the information that they have 
that precedence of us which would entitle them to blame us, and be 
our superiors. If you say that it is because they were evangelized 
before us, we demonstrated in our previous letter to you 5 that their 
evangelization did not precede ours. If you pretend that they are our 
superiors because some of their books have been translated by us, we 
have proved decisively that all the Doctors of the Church are not 

As the Jews do not scorn the Christians because it is from their 
people that the Books of the Prophets and Apostles have emanated, 
so also the Greeks should not blame us on this score. If as you say 
they are our superiors, and they have consequently right to blame us 
because we did not listen to them, the Jews will hold them by their 
throats and say : " We are older than you, and we are your superiors 
and directors ; you took the Books from us ; (l come and become like 

1 I.e. Rabban 'Isho'. 

2 Or : those who blame the peoples are their superiors. Cf. Luke 
xxii. 25. 

3 He refers to his adversary. 

4 Eliminate the waw before the verb. 

5 This letter seems to be lost. 6 Read minnan for minkhon. 


us ; if we blame you, it is our duty to do so ; you Greeks should 
never rebuke us for the fact that we crucified the Christ." What are 
these old women's tales, and what is this useless discussion! 

You write : " That Council (of Chalcedon) which had six hundred 
and thirty- six Fathers, and from which two were driven out." 

I am amazed at the way you have accepted as true the falsehood 
of liars. Who saw (the Fathers of that Council) and counted them 
as amounting to such a number ? Who read their unofficial proceed- 
ings and deliberations ? As for us we read everything in books and 
we know what was done and spoken there, and how long the Council 
lasted ; we have also written with us the names of all the bishops 
who assembled in it, and those who subscribed to it by proxy, and the 
number of all them amounts only to three hundred and sixty-three. 
To what extent can the deceivers lie ! They believe that it is by the 
magnitude of the number of the Fathers that truth is made manifest. 
Three hundred and seventy bishops assembled in the town of Made- 
cohnus l subscribed to the wickedness of Anus, and wished 2 to 
throw away Athanasius the Great, because he did not agree with 

Now what do you say ? Had the high number of men in this 
case greater right than one man, or had this one man, Athanasius, 
greater right than all of them ? Learned men even among the Greeks 
testify that Athanasius was right Picture, therefore, in your mind 
and know that Dioscorus and the bishops who were with him had like- 
wise 3 greater right than the other three hundred who out of their fear 
of the king and for the love of their sees 4 put their signatures to the 
Tomos of Leo. Abraham was in his days the only one who served 
God, the rest being idol- worshippers. But listen to what the holy 
Theologian says : "Three men who gather together in the name of 
God, are more numerous before His eyes than several myriads who 
deny His Godhead. Would you honour all the Canaanites more 
than one Abraham, or the Sodomites more than one Lot, or the 
Midianites more than one Moses?" And he added afterwards: 

1 Sic cod. ; it is Mediolanum (Milan). - Read Sbau for Sba. 

3 Read aph for aphain. 

4 Or chairs ; see Pseudo-Philoxenus in my Early Spread of Christianity 
in Central Asia, 1925, p. 63. 

i.e. Gregory Nazianzen. 


" No ; this could not be, could not be. God was not pleased with a 
great number of people. You count the myriads, but God counts those 
who are saved ; you (count) the earth that cannot be measured, but I 
will (count) the vessels of election." ] 

You further write: "Those Karion^ which are called Koklia 
are invented by the Jews." 

Show us the Canon which was invented by the Jews. It is said 
that the Jews invented not the Kanond but the tishbhatha to the 
tunes of which the Kanvn.4 have been invented, and which serve as the 
foundations of their intonations. As to whether the Koklia are from 
the Hebrews, I heard that it is the tishbhatha, that is to say the 
mazmbre, that they sing with different melodies. Ponder well over 
what you write, and then begin to discuss. 

You condescended also to say that the Greeks took the kingdom 
of the Romans by stratagem. 

When did it happen that a kingdom has been stolen ? It is God 
who removes kings and raises up kings. He removed the kingdom 
from the Franks 3 and bestowed it on the Greeks. That a kingdom, 
however, is stolen without the wish of God is known from the fact 
that Absalom stole the kingdom from his father David, and the people 
leaned towards him. That a king does rise without the order of God 
is also borne out by the prophet who testifies and says : " He reigned 
but not by me, and he governed but not by my will." Wicked kings 
reign by the tacit permission of God ; this occurs especially when 
iniquity is on the increase among the people. If God gave the kingdom 
to the Greeks, it follows that it is He who also gave it to the Arabs and 
the Turks for such a long time. The fact, however, is not so, and the 
subject is different from the one that concerns us. 

You write : " The foreign 5 merchants who go in and out of the 

1 Here is the whole passage : "... tres in nomine Domini congregates 
plures apud Deum censeri quam multos divinitatem abnegantes. An tu 
universes etiam Chananaeos Abrahamo uni antepones ? An Sodomitas uni 
Lot ? An Madianrtas Moysi ? . . . Non est ita, non, inquam ita est. Non 
in pluribus beneplacitum est Deo (1 Cor. x. 5). Tu quidem myriades 
numeras, at Deus eos qui salutem consequuntur ; tu infinitum pulverem, ego 
electionis vasa." Pat. Gr., xxxvi. 467. 

" Names of ritual prayers = Canons. 

3 i.e. the Romans. 4 Hos. viii. 4. 

5 Lit. of different tongue. 


Metropolis testify that there is no kingdom, no government, no wealth, 
and no charity similar to that of the Greeks ; and we Syrians consider 
them as nothing." 

Your saying that the Greeks are praised by outsiders and not by 
Christians is prophetical ; we mean by outsiders Persians, Arabs, and 
Turks. Earthly people think of earthly things. The Greeks are not 
praised by just, pious, and orthodox people, but by grubbing and rob- 
bing merchants. And in what do these praise them ? In the fact 
that there is no kingdom, no government, and no wealth like theirs. 

Alexander has not been praised in any (sacred or ecclesiastical) 
book because his government embraced three ends of the inhabited 
globe, and his kingdom extended to nearly all the earth, and his wealth 
increased like stones. The kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar and that of 
Sennacherib, Pharaoh, and others was also very great, but in what did 
these pagans excel in their kingdom and government ? Is it in their 
piety and holiness ? There is no man of sound judgment who thinks 
so. Do not praise, therefore, the Greeks for something that is shameful 
before the eyes of God. The ancients, prophets and Apostles, have 
not been praised for their government, kingdom and wealth, but for 
their trials, privations, poverty and wants. 

You say : " There is no charity like theirs." This is also untrue. 
Where is the one who has been fed l in the bazaars of their Capital ? 
Indeed how many needy and destitute people walk in its bazaars ? 
Some Christians who had gone there because of their poverty told 2 us 
that they have no mercy at all, 3 and that when they wish to eat bread 
they close their doors and bolt them, and the poor man hoarsens his 
voice in crying and sighing from hunger, and no man gives him bread. 
Here we will end this subject. 


On hov) He Blames His Co-religionists and is Proud of the 


You write : ' We (Syrians) were the first in our evangeliza- 
tion and the Greeks the last, and God gave us kingdom, power, 

1 Read ettzln for esdben. - Add a waw to the verb. 

3 Read dsakh for nsakh. 


ecclesiastical see, 1 and honour, because we were the first to believe in 
Him, but now He has greatly humbled us." 

brother, open your eyes and see, incline your ear and listen, and 
you will not cling much to earthly things. Christ did not promise the 
Christians earthly things sticking with mud, but He promised them 
heavenly things. " Seek the things that are above, and set your 
mind on the things that are above where Christ is." 2 It is the pagans 
who glory in an earthly kingdom and have earthly possessions ; if we 
Christians wish to fix our minds on the latter, by what would we be 
distinguished from pagans ? Have you not heard your Lord say : 
" My kingdom is not of this world ; if it were then would my ser- 
vants fight for me."' And: "Where I am, there shall also my 
servant be." ' If we are, therefore, the servants of Christ, we should 
prepare ourselves for our journey to His heavenly kingdom, and not 
seek to reign here like other people who have no hope. 

To which of the Apostles, who were the first to be evangelized, 
did God give in this world, kingdom, government, and wealth ? On 
the contrary, they toured the world in want, privation, poverty, and 
need. Has not the Son of God Himself plainly declared that He 
" hath not where to lay His head." { Peter and John said to the 
man that was lame : " Silver and gold have we none, but in the name 
of Jesus rise and walk."' The Lord of all did not bestow any 
worldly honours, nor any earthly kingdom, which in reality is nothing, 
on all these saints who forsook everything and followed him. If every 
poor man were despised 7 before God and wrong in his faith, and if 
the man who 8 has wealth and kingdom were right in his faith, it 
would have been high time for you to despise Lazarus, the poor, full 
of sores, and to extol the rich man who was " clothed in purple and 
fine linen and faring sumptuously ; " * it would have also been good 
opportunity for you to praise the faith of the sons of Hagar 10 who 
reigned in the earth from end to end, and are prosperous in the world, 
while the Christians are lowly, wretched, under subjection, and poor. 

Listen to your Lord who says : "If the world hateth you, know 

1 Allusion to the Patriarchal See of Antioch. 

2 Col. iii. 1 -2. 3 John xviii. 36. 4 John xii. 26. 
5 Matt. viii. 20. 6 Acts iii. 6. 

7 Remove the waw before s/ilt. 8 Add a waw to tiau. 

9 Cf. Luke xvi. 1 9 sq. 1IJ The Arabs. 


ye that it hath hated me before you." And : " If ye were of the 
world, the world would love its own." ' And : " If they persecuted 
me, they will also persecute you." 5 And : ' Ye shall weep and 
lament, but the world shall rejoice." 4 And : " Love of this world is 
enmity against God." : What do you say against all these ? Your 
Lord has shown that it is the one who possesses neither kingdom nor 
government who is accepted by Him. He who is here in subjection 
and strong in faith is going to rejoice in the kingdom of heaven which 
will never perish. 

You write : "There are no Syrians except with you in Melitene 
and in Edessa. There are very few of them with us." 

Now Rabban 'Isho' comes back to us like a mighty teacher, and 
believing that the Syrians are uprooted more than any other people, 
he asks us why. 

If you say that that is their condition because of their sins, we will 
retort that there are to-day many pagans and Jews who have kindled 
and kindle the wrath of God more than the Syrians, yet they are 
strong in power and prosperous in wealth, and their number is so high 
that it cannot be reckoned. Tell me also why are the prophets that 
rose in this world now uprooted, while the Jewish people who crucified 
the Son is still prosperous everywhere. Where are the Fathers, the 
just men, and the pontiffs ? Where are the Apostles, the evangelists, 
the solitaries, the martyrs, and the confessors ? If all these are up- 
rooted because of their sins or for a similar reason,' so also consider the 
Syrians ; but if it is because God loved them that He took them to 
Him, you should also assert the same in the case of the Syrians. 

Now listen to what Jeremiah says : " Now that the just have gone 
to their rest, and the prophets have died, and we have left the land, we 
have nothing but the mighty one and His law."* That just king 
Josiah also did not last long in power, and it has been said about him : 
" The just man goes to his rest before the wrath." ' You see that the 
wheat is always gathered in the barns while the chaff is abandoned. 

1 John xv. 1 8. - John xv. 1 9. 3 John xv. 20. 

4 John xvi. 20. 5 Rom. viii. 7 (Syr.). 

6 Remove the waw before 'th'idh. 

' Add the words hraitha or ddhamya. 

s This quotation is from the Apocalypse of Baruch (Pat. Syr., ii. 1230). 

9 Is. Ivii. i. 


You write: -"Why should we (Syrians) be proud because we 
were evangelized first ? The Christ has said : ' Many shall be last 
that are first, and first that are last.' " 

We did not take pride because we were evangelized first ; but we 
simply asked you the reason why the Greeks scorn us after you had 
made them our superiors and directors ! We have not received our faith 
from them ; the Books have not come down from them to us, and 
their language is not more ancient than ours. Further, in Lord Jesus 
" there is no Greek, no barbarian, no bondman, and no freeman, but 
Christ is all and in all." : He who works with Him is accepted by 
Him. The proof which you put forward runs counter to what you 
intended : you say that we who are first became the last, but see how 
in the same sequence you added : " and the last shall be first ; " the 
Syrians who in your sentence were the last became the first in relation 
to the Greeks. 

You write : "A prickly shrub that gives a beautiful rose, how 
can its master uproot it ? " 

It is sufficient for it that its name is a " prickly shrub." There 
are many prickly shrubs which have no roses but are full of thorns, and 
their end is fire. Before the Council of Chalcedon the Greeks were 
not prickly shrubs, but a tree that bore fruits. After they tore the 
robe of Christ and divided it into duality of natures, the rose of the 
"first" was taken away from them, in a way similar to that of the 
Jews from whom priesthood and Books have been taken and given to 
a people that would yield fruits. The Jews were like the fig tree of 
tender branches ; 4 as long as they kept the commandments and 
discarded sin, they were planted in the angle of the heavenly abode, 
but when they sinned and transgressed the commandments, the vine- 
yard, that is to say, the people, was uprooted, and the vine and 
its branches were burnt, and the fig tree was cut to pieces from its 
roots by the axe of Vespasian and cast into the fire of dispersion. 

Why did you not say to the master of the vineyard, as you would 
have doubtless wished to have done: let the "prickly shrub" be 

1 Matt. xix. 30. 2 Col. iii. 11. 

3 The author is playing here on the Syriac word sanya which means a 
" rose-tree," and as a participle of the verb sna, a " vile and despicable 

4 The beginning of the sentence is somewhat corrupt. 


watered, in order that it may bring forth a rose ? But which is the 
rose of the Greeks ? Please tell me. If you say that the rose is the 
Canons, the cathismata, and the stichera, intelligent people do not 
consider these as a rose, because both our Church and theirs have 
been meditating for a long time over these hymns, and have been 
unable to convert through them a single man to the right path. The 
true rose is scriptural meditation, interpretation, teaching, wisdom 
and good advices ; it is through these that the Apostles and Doctors 
converted all the ends of the earth to the truth. A second rose 
consists in fast, prayer, charity, holiness, chastity, and acts of perfection. 
It is through the scent of this rose that one can convert his own soul 
and convert others also. 

Listen now to what the Doctors say concerning Canons and 
Kinatka, of which you are proud. The poets and the composers of 
Kinatha, call sometimes a Kinta angelic, and some other times they 
compare the singers to Moses and to the three children. They 
confined 1 their Biblical references concerning those who fasted in 
repentance to the Ninevites, and to the publican. Through high-toned 
Ziimmart you may forget or completely lose the power of penitence. 
We are commanded to " pray with the spirit and to sing with the 
understanding." This is something difficult for a Greek to do, since 
his mind is concentrated on music. 

God permitted sacrifices because He knew that the Israelites could 
not be convinced otherwise ; and He also permitted the use by them 
of cymbals and other musical instruments, in order that they may not 
indulge in profane glees and in banquets. At the end, however, he 
put an end to sacrifices in saying : "I have no pleasure in whole burnt 
offerings, and the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit." ' He also 
put an end to songs and melodies by saying through the prophet : 
' Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs ; for I will not 
hear the melody of thy viols." How is it that you who have been 
ordered to sing spiritual songs endeavour to mix with the Church songs 
those relaxing Klnatha and loose tones, and thus weaken with these 
same Klnatha the vigour of the souls which have hardened themselves 
against the passions, and mortified their bodies by ascetic works, and 
begun to sing with angels ? 

1 Add a waw to the verb. J 1 Cor. xiv. 1 5. 

3 Ps. li. 16-17. 4 Amos xv. 23. 



If somebody says that these Kinatha are spiritual, let him show 
me their fruits, and I will agree : " By their fruits ye shall know them." 1 
You do not see any poet making repentance from the depth of his 
heart, nor striking on his breast to thwart unclean movements. On the 
contrary he stands erect, shakes his head, moves his neck hither and 
thither, gesticulates with his hands and his fingers and claps them 
together with noise ; he often also strikes with his foot against the 
ground, but he does not exhibit a single fruit of penitence to the hearers 
who are bewitched by the sweetness of his Kinta ( = melody). 2 
Church music is not like this, but it is quiet, lugubrious, and inducing 
to sighing and weeping. 

Kinatha did not penetrate into the Churches except when these 
were deprived of the gifts of teaching. When there was nobody to 
impart sound teaching, chanted hymns invaded the Churches. Look, 
therefore, at this Doctor, 3 how he disliked the Canons, and the 
Zummare", and magnified and praised the interpretations of doctrine. 
Do not despise, therefore, the Kabbelai Maran^ and the 'al 'itra 
dbisme, and the Dukhranah cC Mar yam. Very often one gets 
greater spiritual gains from these simple Kale than from the elaborate 
tones, in which the words are lost or not caught by the ears of the 
listeners through the twistings, falls, elevations, and cadences of the 
voice. Let this subject end here. 

On the Sign of the Cross. 

Let us examine now your other points. You write : " Show me 
a Christian who believes in Christ who crosses himself with one 5 
finger that we also should do the same. What is there that matters 
in the act itself ; if you wish, cross yourself with one finger, and if you 
wish, do it with two fingers." 

1 Matt. vii. 20. 

2 The author's description of a chanting poet is rather interesting. 

3 Which Doctor ? A sentence may have possibly been missed in the 
preceding lines. 

* These and the following Syriac words represent the first words of 
West Syrian liturgical prayers. 
5 Add an Alaph to hdha. 


Lo the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Nubians, that is to say the 
Indians, 1 and the peoples of their neighbourhood, such as the Kushites 
( = Abyssinians) cross themselves with one finger. We have shown 
you above that the Book and nature agree with us on this point ; but 
now that you have become the advocate of the Chalcedonians, show 
us either from yourself or from them the Doctor from whom they 
have received the meaning of the habit of which the two fingers are 
the emblem, and where it is written. 

If the habit of crossing oneself with two fingers symbolizes the two 
natures, as the babbling nonsense of the Greeks has it, they crucify, 
therefore, both these natures as we have already written in the previous 
chapters. How could it be good to make the divine nature suffer and 
be crucified ? If, however, there is nothing in the fact of crossing our- 
selves with one finger or with two, why do you then forsake the habit 
of crossing yourself with one finger, practised by your fathers, and 
make use of the practice of two fingers against your fathers ? If, as 
you say, you are not a stumbling block to your children and to the 
children of your people and it is more advantageous that one should 
not be a stumbling block and a boulder when your people, with the 
presbyters, elders, dead and living bishops warn you that the practice 
is a stumbling block and a scandal, how is it that you do not heed 
them ? Did you not see what Paul wrote : "If meat maketh my 
brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore." 2 

You write : " We believe in one nature in Christ, we add to the 
trisagion : Qui crucifixus es pro nobis, and we follow all the 
ecclesiastical canons of the Syrians ; we do not reject those of the 
Romans but we respect them, as a son respects his father, but in the 
matter of the two natures we do not agree with them." 

The Book says : " How long will you limp on your two hams ? " 3 
Now in which camp shall we see and count you ? In that of the 
Syrians with whose faith you agree, according to your own words, or 
in that of the Greeks whom you do not reject, 4 and what is more 
difficult, whom you have made your fathers ? Our first father is God, 

1 MS. Franks It is astonishing that Barsalibi should here (contrary to 
what he had previously stated) confuse the Franks with the Nubians. Does 
the addition emanate from a copyist ? It is probable that the word Franks 
stands here for Indians. 

1 Cor. viii. 13. 3 \ Kings xviii. 2 1 . 

4 Put a Dalath before la. 


from whom we are born in the spirit ; our second father, and that in 
the flesh, is Adam ; each one of us also has a carnal father of whom 
he is born ; the name of " father " extends also to the holy Fathers, 
who, as we have previously shown, were not all Greek. The great 
Alexander, the promoter of the Council of three hundred and eighteen 
Fathers, 1 and Athanasius, his disciple, were Egyptian ; and so also 
were the rest of the bishops who accompanied them from Egypt and 
Alexandria ; Viton with Vincentius, the priests of Rome, and Hosius 
of the town of Cordova, and the rest of the Western bishops were 
Franks ; Jacob of Nisibin, and Ephrem, his disciple, and Ith-Alaha 
of Edessa, and Mara of Macedonopolis, 2 and John of Persia, were 

Show us how are the Greeks your Fathers. The kind of pride 
you are taking belonged to the Jews who used to have pride in 
Abraham and say : " We have Abraham to our father," 3 but Christ 4 
answered them : " God is able from these stones to raise up children 
unto Abraham." Listen also to John Chrysostom how he rebukes 
those who take pride in carnal fathers, in origin, in earthly possessions, 
and in country, in all of which the Greeks your fathers and friends 
take pride : " Why are you proud that you are from a great country, 
while I v/ould command you to be a stranger to all the earth ? And 
why do you take pride in earthly possessions, you man, who, if you 
wish, can easily render all the world unworthy of you ? " 

Christ was brought up in Nazareth, was born in Bethlehem, and 
laid in a manger. What profit had the children of Samuel in not 
imitating their father's conduct ? And likewise the children of Moses ? 
What harm came to Timothy from the fact that he was the child of 
pagan parents ? In what was Canaan helped by Noah, his father ? 
Children do not always help their parents, nor parents their children ; 
indeed no help came to Esau from Isaac, nor to the Jews from 
Abraham. From these you will learn that neither parents help their 

1 That of Nicaea. 2 A town in Osrhoene. 

3 Matt. iii. 9. 

4 It was John the Baptist. The writer's or the copyist's inadvertence. 

5 Here is the whole passage : " Cur enim de patria altum sapis, quando 
ego, inquit, in toto orbe te peregrinum esse jubeo ? Quando licet tibi talem 
esse, ut totus mundus te non sit dignus?" Pat. Gr., Ivii. 181. Much of 
what follows is also taken by Barsalibi from Chrysostom (ibid., 181, 182). 


children, nor the children their parents, but each one is justified by his 
works and his deeds. 

Neither the Greeks are our fathers nor the Romans, nor are the 
Jews the fathers of Christians : all these are loose l expressions and old 
women's tales. If Yawan, 2 the father of the Greeks, was born before 
Aram, our father, there might have been occasion for discussion, but 
when this is not the case, how did you then glory in the not very 
weighty words of those haughty and arrogant people. It is written in 
the prophets : "A son honours his father, and a servant his master ; 
if I am a father, how is it that you do not honour me, and if I am a 
master, how is it that you do not fear me, saith the Lord Sabaoth." 
What do you say about this ? God says that He is the Father and 
the Lord of us and them and of all peoples, and you establish them as 
our fathers, our lords, and our superiors because of some of their 
Canons that happened to be translated in our Service-books ! This 
is not the saying of a wise man. 

If it is because of these Canons and because of four or five books 
of theirs that we have translated that they are so arrogant, our Lord 
was a Syrian, and they have translated all His teaching into their 
language ; and in case we pretended to be their fathers, we might say that 
lo all the Melchites who resemble them take great pleasure in the 
teaching of St. Jacob. The Greeks take also great pleasure in the 
teaching of the great Athanasius and Cyril, both of whom Egyptians, 
while the Franks take great pleasure in the teaching of Xystus, and the 
Franks, we and they in that of Hippolytus, Julius and others. Let 
them, therefore, not show arrogance against truth. These will suffice 
for this point. 

On the Trisagion. 

You also discuss with us the trisagion in which you have written 

that the Greeks say : Sanctus es Deus, Sanctus es Pater omnipotens. 

Let it be known to you that the Chalcedonians do not refer all the 

1 Add a feminine tau to the adjective. 

2 The Syrians call the Greeks Yawnay/ and they believe that they are 
descended from a first father called Yawan or Yavan. 

3 Mai. i. 6. 


trisagion to the Father, as you write, but to the Trinity, because they 
say : " Sanctus es Deus Pater \ Sanctus es omnipotens Filius, Sanc- 
tus es immortalis Spiritus Sancte, miserere nobis" We Syrians, 
with the Armenians, the Egyptians, the Abyssinians, the Nubians, 
and the Indians, refer the trisagion to the Son. 

There are some who say that when Joseph brought down the body 
of our Lord from the Cross, people saw that angels had set up three 
choirs, the first of which saying : " Sanctus es Deus" and the 
second : " Sanctus es omnipotens" and the third : " Sanctus es 
Immortalis ; " then Joseph and Nicodemus were moved by the Spirit 
and said : " Qui crucijixus es pro nobis i.e. for mankind miserere 
nobis" This was immediately received in the Churches, and Igna- 
tius the fiery, the disciple of John, established it in the Churches. 
Some others, however, say that it has been established after Nestorius 
had been rejected from the Church, but they are wrong. The Fathers 
said that it was that fourth Person, 1 with the human nature which was 
crucified, who, although God, omnipotent and immortal, wished to 
become flesh for us, and not another kind of nature. 

The Chalcedonians say that the trisagion is derived from the 
Sanctus found in Isaiah. As the Seraphim glorify the three persons 
of the Trinity with the thrice repeated Sanctus, so we also should 
refer the trisagion to the Trinity. Against them we will write as 
follows : 

The One whom Isaiah saw on a high throne and the seraphim 
round him is the Son. This we know from John the Evangelist who 
says : " These things said Isaiah about Him when he saw His glory." ' 
Cyril, John Chrysostom, and other Doctors teach us that it was the 
Son, the Word, that Isaiah saw on the throne and not the Father. 
We also believe that it is He who is the door and that it is through 
Him that we go to the Father. He says : " I am the door ; by me 
if any man enter in, he shall find life." ' In the fact that we refer the 
trisagion to the Son we may go up to the Father and say : " Our 
Father who art in heaven." And in referring the glory to the Son 

1 The mention of a fourth Person in connection with the Incarnation by 
a monophysite writer is somewhat strange. Does he refer to Nestorian 
Fathers ? 

2 Johnxii. 41. 3 Johnx. 9. 


We speak in the Holy Spirit : " No man can say : ' Jesus is Lord, 
but in the Holy Spirit.' ' 

We say further that the Seraphim said : " Holy, Holy, Holy, 
heaven and earth are full of His glory," * and they did not say : 
"Thou art holy O God, Thou art holy O Omnipotent, Thou art 
holy O Immortal." If the Doctors have explained the thrice repeated 
" holy " as referring to the three persons (of the Trinity), and if the 
Sanctiis of the liturgy also : " Sanctus, Sanctiis, Sanctus Dominus 
Omnipotens, pleni sunt" etc., refers to the three persons, although 
addressed to one of them only, let them show us from where 
they learned that the trisagion of " Sanctus es Deus " refers to the 
Trinity. The prophet says only : " Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus," and 
the words "Deus, Omnipotens, Immortalis" have been added 

That this trisagion refers to the Son to whom it is appropriate is 
known by the following : we say " Holy art Thou O God the Son," 
because He became flesh although remaining God ; and we say : " Holy 
art Thou O Omnipotent," because He put on our weak body although 
remaining omnipotent in His divinity ; and we say : " Holy art Thou 
O Immortal," because He died in the flesh although remaining immortal 
like God. What passage is it of the heretic Macedonius or of any 
other who attributed mortality to the Holy Spirit that the Chalce- 
donians want to refute when they say : " Holy Thou art O immortal 
Holy Spirit ? " They have really no apology to offer. The words of 
the trisagion have been attributed by the Doctors to the Son because 
He became flesh, put on the weak and mortal human body, and was 
addressed by them as "God," "omnipotent," "immortal," and "who 
hast been crucified for us " in the flesh. 

If they refuse this and say that the trisagion refers to the Trinity, 
let them only say : " Holy, holy, holy," and not : " Holy art Thou 
O God," and the remaining "Omnipotent" and "Immortal." The 
Nestorians and the Chalcedonians, in order to take from the middle 
the question of the crucifixion, and to introduce the division of nature 
and natures, and count in Christ two attributes, powers, and wills, and 
in order not to admit that we crucify the Son in the flesh, avoided the 
reference of the trisagion to the Son and attributed it to the Trinity, 

1 Cor. xii. 3. Ms. 



not paying sufficient attention to what Paul said : " God forbid that 
I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." l John 
the evangelist also said : " glory to the cross." 5 

The theologian said in his discourse on the passover : " We had 
need of a God becoming flesh and dying in order that we may live 
with Him. We died that we may be purified, and we rose with 
Him. Many miracles occurred at that time : God was crucified, the 
sun suffered eclipse and then shone again. It was necessary that the 
creatures should suffer with the Creator." 3 Now where does this 
Doctor put division in Christ ? Where does he say that man died or 
that human nature was crucified ? He openly declared that God be- 
came flesh, died and was crucified. 

Let it be also known to you that if, as the Greeks believe, the 
trisagion refers to the Trinity, and the sentence Qui crucifixus es 
pro nobis is taken away from it, it would not only refer to the Trinity, 
as they say, but also to angels and demons ; which is blasphemy. 
The angel or the demon might indeed say : " I am a God," 4 because 
they are Spirits ; and Satan said about himself : "I will ascend above 
the stars of heaven, and I will be like God," 5 and Paul also said : 
" Whose minds the god of this world hath blinded." e Satan calls 
also himself " omnipotent," because he is constantly watchful in his 
war against the saints, and he even made bold and fought the Christ. 
He is also " immortal " because he does not die. 

Consider well, therefore, where the trisagion might lead, if we 
did not add to it Qui crucifixus es pro nobis ; indeed the trisagion 
of the Greek may reach Satan ! When, however, the words Qui 
crucifixus espro nobis are added to it, no one can refer " crucifixion " 
to an angel or a demon, because this would be impossible ; nor could 
then the trisagion be referred to a mere man, because " immortality " 

i. 14. 

2 Or: "to the crucified." In which passage? At the end of the sen- 
tence is the redundant verb kare. The Text is probably corrupt. 

3 Here is the whole passage : " Opus habuimus Deo, qui carnem acci- 
peret ac moreretur, ut vivamus. Commortui sumus, ut purgemur; simul 
resurreximus, quoniam simul mortui sumus ; simul glorificati sumus, quoniam 
simul resurreximus. Quamvis autem permulta illius temporis miracula 
fuerint : Deus nempe in cruce pendens, sol obscuratus ac rursus mflammatus. 
nam creaturas quoque Creatori condolere oportebat." Pat. Gr. t xxxvi. 662, 

4 Cf. Is. xiii. 14. Ms. xiii. 12-14. 6 2 Cor. iv. 4. 


which is expressed in it is not referred to a man. The trisagion is, 
therefore, to be truly referred to the Son, and Word God who 
became man, and who is both mortal and immortal : mortal in the 
flesh, and immortal in His Godhead, and He was crucified on our 

You mentioned that the Armenians at the Nativity say one thing 
and at the Epiphany say another thing, and on some other occasion 
some other thing. This, however, does not matter, since they refer the 
trisagion to Christ. As we say in the Passion week : " O Christ, 
who by His passion delivered us from error," and as at the beginning 
of the Gospel we say : "At the time of the Nativity of our Lord," 
or " at the time of His Baptism, at the rime of His Economy, at the 
time of His resurrection " as the case may be, so also the Armenians 
do with the trisagion^ and use it according to circumstances. 

We gave ourselves all this trouble for your salvation, not yours 
alone, but that of many others who will listen to us. The prophet 
said : "He who taketh forth the precious from the vile shall be 
as my mouth." ] Do not throw, therefore, truth behind you, and 
abandon an old habit. Who is the man who can be so forgetful of 
his own self as to hate a human being ? We do not hate the Greeks, 
but the schisms which they brought into the midst and the divisions 
which they introduced into the Church. For a certain number of 
years I only disclosed the trouble caused by five of their innovations 
in five points of faith ; had I disclosed at length all the disturbances 
they had caused, they would have been ashamed of themselves, 
because not all of them are aware of what happened to them. I 
warned them several times to let everyone go his own way without 
recrimination against his neighbour of another creed, but they showed 
no desire to heed our advice. I wrote chapters concerning their 
habits, and also on the fact that we should be permitted to enter 
their churches, and be allowed to pray for them and they for us ; 
I also wrote many other chapters to rebuke them and point 
to the disturbance that they would be causing in the Church if 
they did not desire to live in peace and concord. For several 
reasons, however, among which is the fact that they have no re- 
sponsible director and head, I kept my tongue and did not disclose 
what we are now aiming at. 

er. xv. 19. 


Because, if God gives me life, I have the intention of exposing 
little by little all their teaching and comparing it with the interpreta- 
tion of the holy Doctors, and of outlining afterwards our own teaching 
and interpretation and those of the Doctors. We have written the 
present pages in haste, but we have confidence that we shall not find 
ourselves in need to write to you again on the same subject, and that 
you will rather constitute yourself a preacher of truth, and thus 
possess your own soul and that of the many who fell like you. In 
case you remain stubborn in your old ideas, and in case light and 
darkness are on the same footing with you, it is your own business, 
but there is a great day which will make manifest all the hidden 
secrets of mankind. 

Let it be also known to you that it is very pleasing and agreeable 
to God that there should be no divisions in the Churches of Christians ; 
it would have been also more just that the Greeks should have torn 
and pulled at l their own flesh, but they are so steeped in iniquity as 
to say that there are no other Christians but themselves, and they 
inflict more harm on our community and on that of the Armenians 
than the Turks. As I said above, I warned several times the Greeks 
of Melitene that they and the Syrians and Armenians should love 
one another and not to growl at one another like wolves and lions, 
but their madness reached such a pitch as to say like their fathers : 
' You are not Christians " and other similar ugly offensive words 
which are in keeping with their iniquity. 

I wished to sow peace in the camp of the hostile parties, and to 
convince them from the books of the Apostles and Doctors that it is 
not good that they should contend with one another, but that they 
should enter one another's Churches, and pray with love, and if 
necessary to come nearer to one another and remember one another 
in prayers, with the understanding that each one may follow his own 
theological convictions, but they did not condescend to reconciliation. 

When I examined their madness and noticed that it was that of 
insolent people, I retorted and said to them : since you are so incurable, 
and believe that truth, which you do not know, is with you, bring first 
the testimony and the signature of your bishop, priests and notables, 
and I on my part shall also bring those of our Patriarch, our bishops, 

1 Read nbasbsum for nnaskiston. 


priests, and notables, to the effect that (in a public discussion which 
we will hold on religious questions) either party shall be pleased with 
the truth which shall there be revealed, and that either of them shall 
embrace it when revealed ; that in the discussion no party shall abuse 
the other, or rebuke him and refer to extraneous subjects. By the 
help of God I shall on that day disclose everything to the sun with 
justice and equity, in spite of the fact that the affair requires labour, 
time, helpers and promoters. 

Here end the ten chapters. 



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Aaron, 42. 

Aaron (Monophysite saint), 45. 

Abel, 36. 

Abraham, 22, 35, 47, 56. 

Absalom, 48. 

Abyssinian, 26, 58. 

Adam, 56. 

Ahab, 38. 

Alan, 19. 

Alexander, 49. 

Alexander (bishop), 56. 

Alexandria, 56. 

Amed, 18. 

Antioch, 34, 42. 

Arab, 27, 39, 41,48. 

Arabic, 27. 

Aram, 57. 

Arius, 3.0, 35, 47. 

Armenians, 25, 26, 28, 41, 58, 61 

Athanasius, 24, 27, 47, 56, 57. 


Babylonia, 42. 

Bagdad, 42. 

Bardaisan, 34, 35. 

Barsauma (Monophysite saint), 45. 

Basi'l, 24, 42. 

Benhadad, 38. 

Bethlehem, 56. 

Byzantion, 41. 

Caesarea, 42. 
Cain, 36. 

Cairo, 42. 

Canaan, 56. 

Canaanite, 47. 

Chalcedon, 30, 41. 

Chalcedonian, 27, 28, 38, 52, 55, 57, 

58, 59. 
Chosrau, 42. 
Constanrine, 24, 39, 43. 
Constantinople, 28, 30, 41. 
Cordova, 56. 
Cyril (of Alexandria), 24, 26, 27, 30, 

57, 58. 


Daniel, 35, 42. 
David, 19,32,35,48. 
Dionysius (Bar salibi, the author), 18. 
Dioscorus, 26, 47. 


Edessa, 42,51,56. 

Egypt, 40, 56. 

Egyptian, 24, 26, 55, 56, 57, 58. 

Elijah, 35. 

Ephesus, 30, 42, 46. 

Ephrem, 34, 36, 56. 

Esau, 46, 56. 

Euphemia, 41. 

Ezechiel, 35, 42. 


Frank, 19, 24, 26, 31 , 39, 44, 48, 56, 





Greek (mainly), 19, 21, 23, 26, 31- 
32,39,44-45, 46-47, 48-49, 51- 
53, 56, etc. 

Gregory (Nazianzen), 24, 31 , 42, 47, 


Hagar, 50. 
Harran, 41. 
Hebrew, 22, 32, 48. 
Hellenism, 3 1 . 
Heraclea, 44. 
Herodias, 43. 
Hippolytus, 57. 
Hosius, 56. 
Hungarian, 19, 42. 


Iberian, 19. 

Ignatius (of Melitene), 28. 

Ignatius (of Antioch), 58. 

India, 42. 

Indian, 26, 58. 

Isaac, 36, 56. 

Isaiah, 58. 

Isho' (Rabban), 18, 19, 31, 51 

Israelite, 53. 

Ith-Alaha (of Edessa), 56. 


Jacob (of Nisibin), 56, 57. 
Jacobite, 38. 
James, 42. 

Jeremiah, 40, 42, 5 1 . 
Jerusalem, 32, 40, 41,42. 
Jesus, 52. 

Jewish-Christian, 29. 
John (of Asia), 43. 
John (the Baptist;, 43-44. 
John (Chrysostom), 20, 24, 25, 35, 
45, 56, 58. 

John (of Damascus), 41. 

John (the evangelist), 42, 50, 58, 60. 

John (of Persia), 56. 

Joseph, 58. 

Joshua, 38. 

Julian, 43. 

Julius, 57. 

Justinian, 43. 


Kumanians, 41. 
Kushites, 55. 

Lazarus, 50. 
Leo, 41. 
Libya, 26. 
Lot, 47. 


Maccabees, 42. 

Macedonians, 30. 

Macedonius, 59. 

Macedonopolis, 56. 

Madecolinus (Milan), 47. 

Manasseh, 41. 

Mara, 56. 

Marcian, 30. 

Matthew, 20, 45. 

Melchite, 34, 57. 

Meletius, 42. 

Melitene, 28, 34, 51,62. 

Midianite, 47. 

Moses, 20, 22, 29, 35, 38, 42, 47, 

53, 56. 

Muhammad, 34. 
Muhammadan, 28. 


Nazareth, 56. 
Nebuchadnezzar, 49. 



Nestorius, 30, 38. 
Nestorians, 38, 58, 59. 
Nicodemus, 58. 
Ninevite, 53. 
Nisibin, 56. 
Noah, 65. 
Nubian, 26, 55, 58. 


Odysseus, 37. 

Palestine, 43. 

Paul, 18,29,30,39,42,55,60. 

Persia, 42. 

Persian (people), 27, 39, 41, 49. 

Persian (language), 27. 

Peter, 42, 50. 

Pharaoh, 49. 

Philip, 19. 

Philistine, 43. 

Pulcheria, 30. 


Roman, 3 1,39, 48, 55, 57. 
Rome, 31,42, 44, 56. 
Romulus, 31. 
Russian, 19. 


Sabellius, 30. 
Samuel, 38, 39, 56. 
Scylla, 37. 
Sennacherib, 49. 
Seraphim, 58-59. 

Severus, 26, 35. 
Shahrbaraz, 42. 
Sheba, 19. 
Siren, 37-38. 
Sodomite, 47. 
Sustius, 35. 

Syrian (mainly), 25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 

Theodore, 4 1 . 
Theodoret, 30, 43. 
Theodosius, 30, 39. 
Theopaschites, 21. 
Theophilus, 4 1 . 
Thomas, 20, 42. 
Thrace, 44. 
Timothy, 56. 
Turk, 48, 49, 62. 

Vespasian, 52. 
Vincentius, 56. 
Viton, 56. 

Xystus, 57. 

Yawan, 57. 

Zebedee, 42. 
Zechariah, 35. 



(ii) Genuine and Apocryphal Works of Ignatius of Antioch. 



The following pages contain the text and the translation, accom- 
panied by a critical apparatus, of an " exhortation to priesthood," 
attributed to Ignatius of Antioch.- I have edited the text from the two 
extant MSS., designated here as P. and M. P. indicates the Paris 
MS. Syr. 198 1 and M. indicates a MS. of my own collection in 
the custody of the Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham, marked Syr. 
MS. Mingana 223. Both MSS. are undated, but on palaeographic 
grounds can be ascribed to about the sixteenth century. While the two 
MSS. come near each other in point of date, they are totally different 
as to the country of provenance. There are stylistic peculiarities in P. 
which indicate that it was copied in Syria, and there are linguistic 
features of the same domain which seem to indicate that M. was written 
in Mesopotamia. 2 The orthography used in the two offers considerable 
variation, but there is reason to believe that both of them emanate 
from a single prototype the immediate successors of which had begun 
to exhibit some variants at the time when our MSS. were copied. 

That the Arabic style used in the text is a translation from Syriac 
is made abundantly clear by the fact that genuine Syriac words and 
complete Syriac sentences are found in it ; indeed, even the mere 
construction of the Arabic sentences denotes sometimes a Syriac original. 
There is, however, a passage which in both MSS. is worded in rhymed 
prose. If such a passage is to be considered also a translation from 
Syriac, we shall be bound to admit that the translator allowed himself 
a great amount of freedom in his work. A note that I have added at 
the foot will assist the reader to form his own opinion on the subject. 

The Arabic used in the text is most unclassical and is full of 
grammatical and lexicographical mistakes ; indeed it represents the 
lowest type of Christian Arabic used in Church services, but it can be 

1 P. 147 in Zotenberg's Catalogue. 

2 The MS. was recently acquired by me in North Mesopotamia. 



illustrated by scores of similar tracts written in the same non-Arab 
Arabic. I have collated the two MSS. and placed in the footnotes 
the various readings which appeared to me of some importance. The 
variants which were of purely orthographical order, or which were 
clearly due to a slip on the part of the copyists, have been completely 
ignored. I have generally followed in my transcription the ortho- 
graphy used in P., but this does not imply that that orthography is 
always the best. To save space 1 had simply to follow one of the 
two MSS., and I decided to follow generally P. rather than M. 

The Arabic text is printed in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac characters), 
as it was found in the MSS., and a facsimile of each MS. is given to 
show the reader its palaeographical peculiarities. The translation 
which I have adopted often gives only the meaning rather than a 
literal rendering of the original, and always follows the text that is 
printed in the main page to the exclusion of that found in the foot- 


I have attached to the above Arabic treatise a Syriac Canon 
attributed also to Ignatius of Antioch and evidently culled from a 
collection of ecclesiastical Canons used by the West Syrian Church. 
It is taken from Syr. Cod. Mingana 1 , fol. 1 94b in the custody of 
the Rendel Harris Library, Brimingham. The date of the MS. is 
27 March, 1884, of the Greeks (A.D. 1573). A facsimile of all the 
page on which the Canon is written accompanies the translation. 


In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, one 
God, we will begin with the assistance of God to write the epistle 
of the holy Mar Ignatius the fiery on admonition and exhortation 
to priests. May his prayers be with us ! Amen ! 

He said : 

O my brethren and O my beloved priests and deacons, and O 
bishops, listen to me and hear my words to you. You wish to be 
watchful and ever ready ; purify, therefore, your bodies and sanctify 
your souls so that the Lord may not destroy you. Wipe off dirt from 


your hearts, put your accounts in order, and clean out of your consciences 
envy, deceitfulness, and other iniquities, so that Jesus Christ may not 
put an end to you as He did to the priests who preceded you. 

O my brethren, open your hearts in order that the Christ may 
cause love, quiet, peace, and safety to abide in them, and everything 
that is congruous l to the Lord in order that you may have pleasure 
with Him, and rejoice in His grace, and sit for ever at His right. 

O my beloved, because the first Adam did not stand by his birth- 
right, that is to say his chastity and his holiness, but transgressed the 
command of his Lord, he was separated from his kingdom, and be- 
came a stranger to his possessions, and went out of the paradise cf his 
inheritance. The Lord then decreed 2 and ordered 3 death against him 
because of his transgression, and struck him with the sword of the 
devastating fire, and threw him in the dark city of death where he 
became subject to the latter, and because of his prevarications this same 
death ruled over him for seven thousand years. 4 

O my brethren look at the accursed Cain, the second priest, and 
the abominable, impure, accursed, and murderous man ; because the 
desire of killing dwelt in him, his sacrifice was refused, and out of 
jealousy he murdered his brother, and became separated from God and 
from his fathers, 5 accursed and anathematized, and was a vagabond 
and a fugitive in this world, and was the first man to enter hell. 

O my brethren. . . . 6 

priests (listen to) the saying of Moses, the head of the prophets, 
who cried with his voice and said to the priests and the deacons : 7 
" Sanctify yourselves because you serve the Holy One." f O priests 
who have lost their priesthood, and transgressed the rules of their 

1 Here begins a lacuna in M. " The Syr. gzar. 

3 Possibly sallata, or kada. 

4 Has this date a literal and historical meaning, or does it refer i to a 
mysterious and mystical number ? It is useful here to remark that the era 
of the Syrian Greeks and Melchites began 5508 years before Christ 
(Angelo Mai, Script. Vet Nova Collectio, iv. 60). If the number 7000 is 
here to be taken literally the date of the composition of the document would 
be A.D. 1492. In this case the document would be of Melchite origin, but 
then what about the Syriac words and expressions that it contains ? A 
Melchite of A.D. 1 492 would not have inserted Syriac words and expressions 
in an Arabic document of which he was the author. 

5 Which fathers ? fi A lacuna in Paris MS. 
7 Levites? 8 Cf. Levit. xx. 7. 


Master, obey the prescriptions of your Master and do not neglect His 
word. Do not make light of the offices of the Church of God and 
do not despise the majesty which belongs to the holy altar, and to the 
One who is offered on it. 

high-ranked priests, do you not see those who l serve the earthly 
kings how neat and clean they are, and how careful they are in 
washing their hands and keeping their clothes clean. Examine how 
similarly kept are the utensils which are 2 on the table such as 
plates, drinking vessels, goblets, and wine utensils and cups in which 
there are no dregs 3 nor feculence of any kind, and also the 
ordinary bread and thin bread : how neat and clean everything is, 
without any deficiency or defect. People line up erect to honour 4 
earthly kings who are human beings like ourselves and mortals sons 
of mortals ; O my brethren, with how much more care should we, 
therefore, guard the Divine table, and serve it efficiently with faithful- 
ness and holiness and with an outward appearance in which there is 
no defect and imperfection of any kind. 

O my brethren, great * woe be to the priests who ' do not keep their 
priesthood with good works. The Church and its children weep 
over the priest who sins, and give also woe to the deacon who does 
not act in the right way. How can the one who acts badly penetrate 
into the inner part of the house of God ? It is not right, therefore, 
that an iniquitous priest should offer the sacrifice of other people and 
enter into the holy church of God, nor is it right that his unclean 
hands should handle that holy body, and be dipped " in the blood 
of the Lord. How can a priest who is not clean in his actions 
sacrifice that holy body which was lifted up on the Cross, and before 
which the companies of angels stand in awe and the choirs of heaven 
in fear, while they are unable to contemplate its splendour ? How 
can any one who is impure and immoral dare handle it with his dirty 
hands ? How can also any one who is an occasion of scandal to 
other people sacrifice that sublime, high, holy and pious body, who 
hates the drunkards and the immoral people ? Have you not heard 
then what He says in the pure Gospel : " Scandal will arise but 

1 Read al-ladhln. - Read al-lali. 
3 The Persian dard. 4 Syr. ikar. 

5 Read muluk (in plural). " Read al-allm. 

7 Read al-ladkln. 8 An unclassical Arabic word. 

9 Here ends the lacuna in M. 


woe to the man through whom scandal comes." ' He also says : 
' Ye are the salt of the earth ; but if the salt has lost its savour 
wherewith shall it be seasoned ? It is thenceforth good for nothing, 
neither for the land nor for the dung, but it is cast out and trodden 
under foot 2 by men " 3 and it also becomes a vile object and an 

O my brethren, there is no sin in the earth more terrible than that 
of a priest, for which there is no forgiveness. O my friends, lament 
and weep continually over the priest who did not fear sin. The 
weeping of the terrestrial people not being sufficient for him, the 
inhabitants of heaven weep also over him : the Seraphim like whom 
he was holy, and out of whose sanctification 4 he fell. The blessed 
Cherubim weep also over him, because his sweet lyre is silent of their 
melodious tunes. 5 The angels and the High Companies (of the 
Archangels) weep over him, because through his bad works the voice 
of his praises has ceased to praise with theirs. 

All those (of his pupils) who fell out of his command weep over 

The weeping of the inhabitants of land and water not being sufficient 
for him, O holy Church gather together thy children, the celestial 
and the terrestrial, and come and set up wailing and lamentation over 
the infamous and accursed priest who has been wounded by sin. 
Weep also over the deacon who by his bad actions has become the 
companion of Satan. O my brethren, who is the man who does not 
weep over a priest who has estranged himself from his Master like 
that disciple Judas who sold his Master ? 

Simon, head of the disciples, weep and lament over the shepherd 
who, after having been like you and after having taken from his 
Master like you that talent 6 in order to trade with it, has lost all the 
sheep, and his soul is drowned. O my brethren, who will not weep 
over the absolver of sins who falls into sin, and who will not weep 

1 Matt, xviii. 7. 2 Read tandas for tansad in M. 

3 Luke xiv. 34, and Matt. v. 13. A combination of the text of both 
Matthew and Luke. Literally the sentence may mean : It is thenceforth good 
for nothing, neither as earth nor as manure. 

4 i.e. saying : holy, holy, holy, of Is. vi. 3. 

5 This sentence is wholly in Syriac in P. 

6 The Arabic word badrah means generally a great sum of money. 


over a shepherd who becomes a wolf ? Who will not weep over a 
watchman who becomes a thief, and who will not weep over a 
merchant who becomes a spy, and a physician who is wounded by 
sin and has no remedy ? Weep, O Church, over your priest. 
Weep, O Simon and John, over your companion who left your 
companionship and became a stranger to you. 

Who envied l you, O chaste one, and made you a fornicator ? 
Who envied you, O pure one, and made of you an immoral man ? 
Who envied you, O fasting man, and made of you a gluttonous man 
given to excess ? Who envied you, O just one, and made of you a 
companion of the ignorant ? Who envied you, O devout and pious 
one, and made you a wretch with the sinners ? Who envied you, O 
man filled with sanctity, and made you sink in the sinfumess of 
iniquity ? Who envied you, O fair one, and filled you with unholi- 
ness ? Who envied you, O just man, and placed you in the company 
of sinners and enemies ? Who envied you, O child (of the house), 
and made you a stranger to your father and your brothers ? Who 
envied you, O near relative, and made you a stranger to your relations ? 
Who envied you, O celestial one, and made you terrestrial ? Who 
envied you, O truthful one, and made of you a liar, and filled you with 
sins and shameful deeds ? 

you dear and beloved ram who became the prey of a wolf ! 
O hart who fell in the snare ! O you agile eagle who fell in the net ! 
O warrior ~ who was beaten and ran away ! O athlete who took to 
flight ! O mariner whose ship has sunk ! O husbandman whose 
com has perished ! O steward 3 who squandered his treasures ! O 
table-companion 4 who left his place at the table ! O bridegroom 
whose bridal chamber did not please him ! O mighty King whose 

1 Read hasadaka for hadasaka in M. and note the rhymed prose of the 
following few sentences, possibly due to a free translation ; if, however, it 
could be proved from this that the document was originally written in 
Arabic, its date could not have preceded the ninth century ; but we must 
admit that such phenomena occur sometimes in Arabic translations from 
Syriac. A free translation of this kind has even affected the sacred text of 
the Gospels. I saw in Jazirat b. 'Umar, on the Upper Tigris, a MS. which 
contained the Arabic translation of the Gospels by the very famous 
Ebedjesu of Nisibin, wholly written in rhymed prose. 

2 Read mubariz for martz. 

3 Transliteration of the Syriac word parnasa. 4 Syr. hrifha. 



crown fell from his head ! O judge condemned for his ignorance ! 
O chieftain who lost the greatness of his headship ! O wealthy one 
who became poor by his will ! O sun whose rays have perished ! 
O moon whose light has suffered eclipse ! O seed of pure wheat 
which has been mixed l up with tares ! O beautiful and lovely flower 
which has been smitten by the blighting wind 2 of sin ! O admirable 
rose the beauty of which has perished in the frost of ignorance ! O 
pomegranate-flower 3 which withered in the midday heat 4 of sin 
and iniquity. 

Where are you O Paul and Timothy ? Where are your warn- 
ings, your canons, and your conditions, which to-day your companions 
have transgressed by stumbling ? O just Power, for how long wilt Thou 
not utter the cry of vengeance against the priests ? Where are Thy 
punishments and Thy zeal against the ancients ? How is it that 
Thou art silent now ? Heaven is amazed at such a silence. Where 
is the heart that can stand it and not break ? O my brethren, that 
just Power which has equalized justice to all mankind, has left every- 
thing to the next world, in which each one of us shall answer for his 

O my brethren, let us place the judgment of God before our eyes, 
because we cannot avoid answering for our words and for all those He 
confided to our care : the souls redeemed by the innocent blood of 
God, 5 and we have to return them as we received them. He gave us 
a pact to the effect that we shall worship Him, be with Him, and 
shepherd His flock. 6 

my brethren, the sin of a priest is a wound which has no 
remedy. O my brethren, at the time the priest sins, sadness overtakes 
the multitude of angels in heaven. What shall we say concerning 
those who believed that they had no sins, while Satan robbed 
and plundered them ? They asserted that God is forgiving and 
merciful, and they did not know that God is also a just and equitable 
judge. O my brethren, let the story of Ananias and his wife inspire 

1 Syr. Habbel = ithhabbal. 2 Syr. shauba. 

3 Persian guli-anar or gulnar. It is somewhat strange that the author 
should have used a Persian word. 

4 Arab zuhriyah from Syr. Takrayatha. In P. zuhirat. 
" Was the author a Monophysite ? 

6 Syr. Markka. 


you with fear, and take fright at the spectacle of those priests who 
were burned for small sins. O my brethren, be afraid of the story of 
Korah and Abiram, because all of them have become a mirror to us 
so that we may hear what happened to them and fear ; and do not 
sin and serve Satan like them. 

priest, who is the one who will not weep over you ? O great 
one and O confidential steward, 1 brother of Simon and John, it has 
been laid down that no one be appointed to priesthood except the one 
who is blameless, and lo there is to-day shame and dishonour in your 
bed ; and we do not find it difficult to cover you up ! O exiled one, 
who has been separated from his service," and his high office, we weep 
over the high office of priesthood which you have besmirched by your 
iniquitous act ; and we do not feel any sorrow at the beauty of your stat- 
ure ! O ignorant one who did not know his own self, we weep over the 
crown of holiness which you have dishonoured by your bad deed ! 
The Lord had established you as a mediator between Him and His 
Father, and not a mediator to the idols ; you did not approach priest- 
hood in order to induce people to sin and detach them from God, but 
to uplift them and bring them nearer to Him. 

Woe to your spirit when your companions sit on the twelve 
thrones s and you are driven out like the one who wore dirty garments. 
Lo shame is in your bed and it pleases you to dishonour your bed, and 
you make light of it. 4 You have changed your zeal to your Master 
for a zeal to another master, and you have become a stranger to 
Him, and that is why fire will consume your body without getting 
satiated with it O my brethren, there will not be mercy in the day 
of judgment and decision for an unchaste priest, and he will not be 
allowed to approach his throne, but he will be driven out like the five 
foolish virgins. It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul cried and 
said : " If a person desire priesthood he desireth a good desire." ; Lo 
to-day the priests of the different peoples desire the office of headship 
while they are far from real priesthood 6 and remote from its works. 

1 Arab, mutahakkik, evidently a translation of the Syr. sharrira. 
- Syr. Tishmishta. ' 3 Matt. xix. 28. 

4 Here as above the author seems to allude to immoral acts of a private 

] Tim. iii. 1 . The author follows the Syriac version which has 
"priesthood" instead of "episcopacy." 

6 Read Kahnutihim. 


O my brethren, listen to what has been enacted against those who 
bear the yoke of priesthood but make light of it or neglect it : they 
shall burn with those two hundred and fifty priests who were burnt 1 
with their censers. 2 

O brethren, O priest, O deacon, any deacon who approaches 8 
his wife in the time of the fast that the Saviour fasted 4 will not find 
mercy in that great day, the day of landmark and finality ; this will 
happen also if he approaches her on the occasion of a festival, or on a 
Friday, or on a Wednesday. Anyone who approaches his wife in one 
of these days, his burning shall be with the fire of Sodom. This does 
not apply to the children of the Church, the laymen, but it is ad- 
vantageous also for them to abstain from marriage in the above 
mentioned days. 

O my brethren, the priests should not neglect, but should be 
diligent in, their service and careful with the vestry of the holy altar 
and the belongings of the Church. O my brethren, any priest who 
makes light of them or neglects them, and serves with them in this 
state the holy body which was lifted up on the wood of the cross I say 
to him that his lot shall be with those who cast lots upon the garments 
of Christ ; with such shall his share be without pity ; also the priests 
who steal from the belongings of the Church, and from what pertains 
to it in the matter of the ex-votos of orphans and widows who gave 
them on behalf of their sins : heaven and earth shall weep over such 
priests, and their sin is greater that that of those who became the 
companions of Ananias and his wife. 

my brethren, a priest entering (a church ?) to offer sacrifice 5 
with a heart in which there is rancour against his brother, is like Cain 
the murderer. A priest who sees a needy person and does not 
help him, or a thirsty person in want of a drop of water and does 
not quench his thirst, and a priest who sees a sick person and turns 
his face from him, will have no share in paradise. Accursed is the 
priest who does not know his own self, who dishonours himself with 
such sins ; such a one will be separated from his service and his 

1 Num. xvi. 35. 2 Syr. perma. 

2 M. " any priest or deacon who approaches." 4 i.e. Lent. 

5 Syr. Kaddesh which commonly means " to say mass, to consecrate," 
the former sense is relatively late for a supposedly early document. P. has 
yalakaddas " to make himself holy." 


priesthood, and the Father will rebuke him for not having served his 
office rightly and justly ; the Son of the Father will not accept him ; 
the Holy Spirit will avoid him, and all the celestial multitudes will 
push him out to inherit hell where he will receive a just retribution 
for his service. 

Because he did not perform the duties of his priesthood with piety 
and devotion, 1 the angels will take away from him the imposition of 
the hands 2 of priesthood, which had fallen on his head, and they will 
push him out to hell in company of the impure, unchaste, and ignorant 
people ; there he will weep and wail and also gnash his teeth. The 
priest, however, who performs the duties of his priesthood with devo- 
tion and piety, and offers sacrifice to God with holiness, and serves 
before Him with good order and pious deeds, will be served by God 
and by the multitudes of angels, who will exalt his office and his 
priesthood ; and he will live in pleasure in the company of Simon, 
the head of the Apostles, and he will be placed among all 3 the 
Fathers, the Saints, the Prophets, and the Doctors of the Church. 4 

Similarly the deacons who leave the office of Stephen and of those 
preachers who serve the church, will go and serve Satan and his armies. 
What shall I say about them ? On the one hand if I keep silence, such 
a silence may lead to misunderstanding, and if I speak my heart will not 
allow me to rebuke them, but truth itself sits in judgment against them. 
Instead of requiring from every deacon good works, fasting and prayer, 
vouched for by good men, we present to-day to this high office men 
who are uneducated, ignorant, not steeped in piety, untruthful, and 
having no witnesses to vouch for their veracity and uprightness. (The 
deacons) are thus liars, transgressors, drunkards, haters of their service, 6 
haters of the Church, haters of fast and prayers, insolent, and proud 
like Satan. Those who are addicted to such vices and have left the 
commandments and the law of God and do not turn to penitence will 
from this world receive punishment for ever and ever. 

1 Is it the Syr. hrirutha ? 2 Syr. Siam-idha. 

The translator has joined the pronoun with kull as it is done in Syriac. 

This is a relatively late pronouncement. 

' We are tcld in an unpublished work of ecclesiastical Canons (Syr. 
MS. Mingana 32 fol. 36a, in the custody of the Rendel Harris Library, 
Birmiugham) that three witnesses of high integrity are required to testify to 
the piety of the man who is to be ordained deacon. 

6 Syr. Tishmishta as above. 


The deacon has to obey orders and commandments ; he is not to 
neglect any virtue that pleases God : fast, prayer, holiness, and piety. 
O my beloved (deacon), you should not neglect your soul on the 
pretence that you have not the yoke of priesthood. O my brother, 
fear the day of reckoning and punishment and the furnace l of fire. O 
my brother, obey the injunctions of God, and lend your neck to the 
yoke of Christ ; be sweet-tempered and humble 2 towards your brethren, 
and love the strangers, the poor, and the beggars. O my brother, 
educate yourself and the people of Christ ; when you go to the altar 
in order to perform your duties 3 take care and pains to do it in good 
order so that you may please your Lord ; let us examine our accounts 
and see whether we have any hatred towards our neighbours, and 
whether we have only love and peace. 

O my brother, the deacon who neglects prayers will be judged 
with Satan, and the deacon who disregards the duties of his service 4 
will be in a place where there is no praise of God and where he will 
be ministered to by the furnace 5 of fire ; the deacon who frequents the 
company of drunkards, the worm that does not die will be intoxicated 
from him ; the deacon who leaves the Church on the night of Sundays 
and festivals, and wishes to drink wine, the Church of heaven will 
drive him out to where she will not hear his voice ; the deacon on 
account of whom God is mocked at, would to God that he had never 
existed ; the deacon who causes uproar and discord in the Church, 
will be consumed by fire alive ; the deacon who fails to control his 
soul and his desires, 6 will be far from heaven ; the deacon who makes 
use of marriage and comes to perform his duties, 7 the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost will be angry with him ; the deacon who goes to 
the altar while intoxicated, the spirit of justice will rebuke him ; the 
deacon who commits a sin and does not confess it and repent, his tor- 
ment will be eternal and perpetual. 

O my brethren, if you have accepted this order for the satisfaction 
of the desires of your soul, you will not have forgiveness, and you will 
suffer with Satan ; but if you have accepted this order to serve the 

^yr. Shalhaibitha. 2 Syr. makkekh. 

8 Syr. shamli. 4 Again the Syr. Tishmishta. 

5 Syr. Shalhaibitha as above. 

6 The text is obscure and the sense doubtful. 

7 Syr. Shamli. 


Lord who was crucified on your behalf, do not be the servants of 
Satan. O my beloved, avoid the service of Satan, intoxication, pride, 1 
and gluttony, and do not disappoint anyone, 2 and avoid also lies which 
are 3 a sign of the sad unbelief of the world. O my brethren, have 
you not heard what the divine Apostle Paul said : "neither forni- 
cators, nor adulterers, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor abusers of them- 
selves with men, none of these will inherit the kingdom of heaven and 
cross (the bridge ?) to it." ? 4 

O my beloved, keep your soul from sin, and purify your body 
from bad passions so that you may not suffer. O my brethren, the 
deacons who walk in the way of God, keep His Commandments, 
serve the Church with piety, serve the people of God, and long for 
fast and prayer, the angels will long to meet them, and will also 
accompany them and take them to heaven on their wings in order 
that they may enjoy bliss and happiness with the priestly Fathers, and 
the pious, in the kingdom of heaven the joys of which will not cease, 
and be glorified at the table of Christ, as His holy mouth uttered : 
" Where I am there my servant shall be." ' There you will also hear 
the sweet voice : " Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom 
prepared for you before the foundation of the world." ' You will also 
be table-guests of the angels, 7 and along with martyrs (and) evangelists 8 
you will receive ample reward ; and you will serve and rejoice with 

We who are plunged in sin ask God not to make us deserve hell, 
but the above grace and virtue. To Him are fitting glory, honour, 
majesty, and power, with His Father, and His Holy Spirit, now, at 
every time, and for ever and ever. Amen. 


(Here recite) Pater Noster. May the grace of God be with the 
weak and miserable scribe, with the pious readers, and with the blessed 
hearers ! May we have mercy upon us through the prayer of the 

1 takahrum : curious word formed from the Persian kahraman. 
' Read tukhayyibu. 

3 The author uses the feminine pronoun hiya under the influence of the 
Syriac word Kaddabutha which he was rendering. 
4 1 Cor. vi. 9, with some changes. 
5 John xii. 26. 6 Matt. xxv. 34. 

7 Read malaikah in M. 8 Read mubashshirin in M. 


mother of Fire, the queen of the worlds, the Mother of God, 1 hoping 
that the Lord will deliver us from fire in the day of judgment ! 
Amen ! May the grace of God be with us all ! Amen ! Amen ! 
This has ended by the help of God. 2 


" Of Ignatius the fiery (Canon) 38. We observe the night of 
Wednesday because in it our Lord announced His passion to His 
disciples, 3 and they were troubled with sorrow 4 ; we observe 
the night of Friday because in it our Lord was seized by the Jews ; 
we do not observe the night of Saturday, because in it there was rest 
to all the dead of Sheol, at the descent of our Lord to them. He 
who does not observe the night of Friday and Wednesday, will be 
condemned with those who bound our Lord on the night of Friday, 
and those who observe the night of Saturday, will be condemned with 
those who broke the legs of the robbers, in order that the Sabbath day 
may not begin for them and that they may not be condemned in the 
eyes of the law." 


When all the above pseudo-Ignatian matter was in the press I 
discovered the following quotations from Ignatius in Mingana Syr. 
MS. 37, written about A.D. 1450 (in the custody of the Rendel Harris 
Library, Birmingham). 

1 The MS. is of Jacobite origin. 

2 The closing sentence of the text and the colophon are as follows in P. : 
"And there you will receive ample reward with the angels and the 
'evangelists, and you will serve and rejoice with Stephen. And we who are 
plunged in sin pray the Lord not to torment us in hell but (to make us 
Reserve?) that grace, virtue, and piety. May honour, glory, majesty, and 
thanks be to the Holy Trinity, now, at every time, and for ever and ever, and 
on us all be His grace ! It has ended by the help of God." [This last 
sentence is in Syriac.] 

'The ecclesiastical day begins in the East in the afternoon of the 
previous day. 

4 Or : moved by affliction. 



The Ignatian Canon translated above is given in the following 
form on fol. 44* : " Ignatius the Fiery says : We observe the night 
of Wednesday because in it our Lord announced His passion to His 
disciples, and He was moved by affliction. We observe the night of 
Friday because in it our Lord was seized by the Jews and struck on 
the face by the servant of the High Priest, and was tied to a column. 1 
We do not observe the night of Saturday because in it there was rest 
to all the souls of the dead in Sheol by the descent of our Lord to 
them." ' 


On fol. 28* of the same MS. there is the following genuine 
quotation from Ignatius not found in the fragments edited by Cureton 
and Lightfoot. 

1 * lit 11* 1 /ll 



"Ignatius: Where is the disputer ? Where is the wise man ? 
Where is the boaster of those who are called intelligent ? For our 
God Jesus the Christ was conceived by Mary according to an 
economy." Ad Epkes. t xviii. 

This is an exact translation of the Greek of Ignatius as edited by 
Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers, iL, 74) with the exception that 
"where is the wise man" is placed before "where is the boaster" 
and that instead of " boaster " there is in Greek " boasting " Kai^cris. 
The Syriac translation, however, brings the text of Ignatius nearer to 
1 Cor i., 31. 

1 The idea of our Lord having been tied to a column seems to be much 
later than the time of Ignatius. 

2 Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, but not on Sundays, is in the 
Apostolic Constitutions (fol. 10 b of the same MS.). 


A/Jo Oil]] J 

?] *" ij loJ 
Vr> .mi ^ 


GU012 * 


A** ^onnoXn loMA^l wkZoo] 1* . 


.o oixs ^ ^D ^yto Soau nV> .mno >L.O 
oio .4^010 OT]ID>O A^jQ^A^ >U^ .^imo ^-^ CTJO J^N 

oiol^ n/ri^Vv .^Vfr>7o rci^nV^^n^ ZoSfl^v Ai . Vn . .<?> 

. OTICD ))]] ai 
.m. .^ ^1> 
^n^ Z-^ oio 

JQlCilD >] .O . OUT)] 



1 M omits. 2 P omits. 3 P omits. 4 M omits. 6 M 
and so P prima manu. 6 M ZoJOialL. 7 P omits. 8 P 
9 M 2aao. 10 Here begins the lacuna in M. 


Uo J 

-V |1 ^oasiaj} lajXpO A)OO mm^nlVn^^n ] 

JoaiZojaia '^-<^ ouoia 

OUO12 . - 

A,Ao . 


7] m] ^ 
- A ^. 

1 A lacuna in P also. 


, . 

p*! -^^ i **> Z]_oAL"^ t n n m 

Uo nj ^oau) .mA 





001 >o ,\i Aaij> .i . i *-* t t - > J 

i . 

? oj^jj t] oil t-t .^in^) JCDJI!^ oi>Ai 001 

oil ooi J] 1 

. . ^ij ] ^ *^ 

.Oual^olk 8 [OLiAl 

auAl ti . _ ^^ 

ai \ i\ai2 2o. _. 


. i vVt..! 


1 Here ends the lacuna of M. 2 M w.oAoo2. 3 M 

4 M erroneously ?]flu2o. 6 P omits. 6 M aiuU^. 7 M 
^(QSOfiQ..^. 8 M omits. ' This is a complete Syriac sentence in P. 

In M it is translated into Arabic as follows : ,;iD ]r>\^\ Ol>]lLiJD ,iQa 
^OOILD]^]. 10 M ou>^ oAJiate. p oil^ol. " M omits. 
13 M omits. 


wi 001 

^tflL IjOOU .^>VA^v ..A, AA^no 01,^00 ,_iC ^A^l >P C 


>r c ]oio IOLD kyl^^ oiipolL jAZ 01,^00 ^io pi V .SAV)0 
^3v 001 

001 ,..100 ~*2 > . ,0 0010 

6 " >1 . ,0 ^3 K\ 1^ **^ .inni JxA ^. 

^ 001 ^k:o ^u> > . ,0 ^ 

OO1 ^00 *[*O>ia)] '>}. fQ ^3 J 


M ^oal 
pu,cuo . 

poo 2>Q2Ak)>U^ ^Lp - AI All; rQ 

"U -r^a^ -3 001 

- 001 SO wUl ^'r 22 * ^> -r OO1 

) . 

r ^ * ^liJZA 13 [AloVy^L] la 

> ^3 001 Lo .n 


U ..... > 

,00 15 [.Q*?] ?ai*- ^ 001 

[..... >^r>V]^ ^V/VnVo V>.^. .^Av ^Q .^ Avn ]_, ^,01** w 

^i OOI 

1 M omits. 2 M Olj^OD ^lo. 3 M 2AZ1. * P 01 

s j^j ^cooflo'L. 6 M QilcD. 7 P oiNi^^v. 8 P 

9 M omits. 10 M omits. " M ^tJ. la M omits. 

13 p AU*X M M omits. 15 P 


3 [jO ^O0i^]0 ^iolU i ^jfiO** ^,^v 001 ^SO 

>l2 '/ \\ r^ -....., M ^ r OU ^r-v OG1 ,-Lo >v y >Cf)| -- \*- i 

-" * *"**"* ..Vvgift ^^As . .ft \Voft .1^ . API 
,0 w.^. *QonViV vp^ .nn^s. lou] U 

,00 J3>lcO 'rCQJ U ^*U^L ^2) JLOO ,O ^^ 

L. ,00 w*jdO- r 10 . 3 [SOlOu oj ,00 
,00 ^Li'rM "U . OUulp ?p ,00 4 [CD|j^] 

lau] V> . oiip oil ^U ^o ^1 ^As U . 

,0 ^ 


Acn] ,00 .mV) U cnA^aio^ ;.rg> j] ^o b 


,00 01*2! JL ai^iM^ ^?1i V oia .^mni] 

ai>iSV) 615011 U . ^ 

O199O U* OU^^x ^ n 


. i>a^o- r IOOD^O 8 ]aali ,00 
2o . 
^l ]ai ^Ao)]] ,4 AJ]D ^ 

A..^t >o ?oa so* . ai)Gi 

Zoom] ,0 ^^ 13 [^.oA] Ijois ^1 ^Zoo] 
^ Ao AoiZ ,00 

M \^J 

^10 !x>U^v ^i ^la ^4^1 v l Ul r=> Bo 

1 P OICLM^. 2 M omits. 3 M OlSa.101 >D. 4 P - 

6 P ?1L. 6 M ouioi^. 7 M 5oaio loSoloi. 8 M IQOOII and 

P prlma manu. 9 M Ol^JCi^ Zo^O ^>'^^. 10 M 

11 M omits. 12 M^a. "pAaco. " 



0,0 loAo 


maj]]l ^001 

DO *->j 3 [1oA 
'[j^oZZo] , 

12 [loio] 11 

A~l'r> .JOT 

. .ii .] Aoo 

jtla . 1 ^ ^^ 

ioaiX .% A 

"U . 




. A Ao 

ioaio !>oai>oijo 

^ V> ^.. . 


Do . s]_ajo 
^^ 001 . 

- v ^ Pft1 


<j. j 

A A^ 1 ) Av |J] 

* 3 'r^ 


iol *_i 


-tr> A 

i M ]lVAftt. 2 M ]j]^l. 3 M omits. 4 M omits. 

I omits. 6 M omits. 7 P iOOl^S ^D]o. 8 P omits. 

.nnAlO ^J^ns ^. 10 M omits. n M omits. W .P repeats. 
[ without the initial ba which, I believe, is only used in the vulgar Arabic 
5yria. u P omits. 1S M Aj| (OlAQ.kJ ,-O ^r-^v OlSi )^.^. 

1 omits. 1T P ^02)^. is M omits. 




^- Ai 


. 2 [ojjL.. ] 

I 01 


2*00*^ iOQu ^2) GlSCU.5 
OUIDp QMJ w^\ bOfOLi .] O1Q2>Aji 





^00X03 *** 


^001 ^Zao] V* 

4 [oiA.. r >] 



ij . 

^xcalooo ^ASolL ^o] 
8 [,aite] U r [0100] U] 6 

. **j 


[AaolL! 001 ILDO ^00^01 i 

'rM t 


"(] ] laiSoco ,0 lio AAk) auai^Xl 

.<* ^A rft. ] ^O 

1 P omits. 2 P omits. 3 M omits. 4 P Ol 

M !>OOlSoo^> *^2. 7 M omits. 

10 P nJIl. P omits. 12 M omits. 



-^> . 


6 M omits. 

p ^CQO M omits. 

13 P omits. u P omits. 
16 M omits. n M omits. 


^ rr> oVnv m ^ 1 JOO1_Q] SOjILiO SOOUQ 

]>oi *^ A >^ 01 n n 

. oioa* o Jooiaji tQ^i y>ouS>o 

001 wU <-lCO 011^2^ CTL^x 

^ ,00u 

OlllD OlOVytO 

.QIUO 5 [il O 1 ? 01 '^DJD OU3DU2U 

.rr> i . ^ cnmsu ^'A- 4 - rr> ' **j tOi ocn t 


A., i ? 

^ oi 


ipi N * 

^ \ -J 

>s] m 

m ^ . Vnv OVJLLD 



oio "[.aia^] ^AaiU.!^o *[ C Aiaus!k] ^im^i 
r^L . 

i>o,ni i ^? 

CTL.JJ w [ ft ^n ^ y .-j 

1 P JOOljL2. 2 M omits. 3 M ^flOf -*. 4 M 

6 P oi*.fp^. 6 M >'r2*jZ. 7 P OU;M^O. 8 M omits. 

9 p ^Vo 10 p omi , s a p ^QlS^o. 12 P ZjQjZ. 13 M omit& 

14 M ^oVi-. 



^^ JS>] V) ^ 

-So !>ooi -^ 

Ao Sooin. Aocol JJ*)] ACUD] .4^ oijoi-.o 

1 -*~>Vo - * *> <^ ] Vr> .co.Vo] <r> ^o 


en? or 


**>] n m v 


v ; ^ ^A v> 
}aoi2 ,50 8[_^,] 1,01 '[J^JOA] IP n m 

V>] . OTOJO12 p*J y - ^^ 
-^^ 213O OT^Al 'riolo] -^ (^ 

00] w^o .jmo ;n^\0 ^'ryt *ii**iO .030 

^. Z |l 


JLl] ^ 

1T ]JO r JO> J 

1 M omits. 2 M omits. 3 M OT*. * M omits. 

6 P omits. 6 P omits. 7 P AASO. 8 P ^*^. M ^Oi^A-. 

10 P IOT. M omits. 12 P omits. 13 M omits. u M *S?1. 
15 M omits. 16 P ^oAj]. M omits. 



QjLS ffiA m ^r> mJ ^\ rWtai So^ ^ jxJLQAO 
m omVrrt OT_k>pZ .CuZo . m .. o or>7 2 ") jus .tTI A 
U ^i,!L i1rr^ aU ^ D pflcZ ..;]^cn^ .nnl^i . 



5 M 
8 M 
12 M omits. 
16 M 

J/- J >p] Vl 

m .n 



] Vn^ 

^"^ il 

. , 

t - r 

A_coZ] 13o 


; : 

13 M 

2 M 

e p 

9 M omits 

3 M omits. 

10 P omits. 

4 P omits. 
M omits> 

" M omits. 

u M omits. 15 P 



[- AV] 

! oiSC2> 

Zo. ^ 


|] V 1 Jvjau aiifln^ ^^ ^,1^00^..^)^ ^o Ik)] . v a . 

' Olll] Ol 

^i ^ocu 
. oi ^a&> oi>ai 

The closing sentences of the text and the Colophon are in P 
as follows : 

.400, w ,-w ^.. 

i )] ^ 

J]l ^SD ^olojll .Ai 

J 1 1 iSso -ijoi oi 

i M CJUOIDO. 2 M io. 3 M *- 4 p omits - 

5 M omits. 6 M 







f }>f 







FASC. 2. 

(i) A Jeremiah Apocryphon. 

(ii) A New Life of John the Baptist. 

(iii) Some Uncanonical Psalms. 





IT is well known to students of Apocryphal literature that a whole 
region of that fascinating, but perplexing, subject is covered by 
works assigned to Jeremiah and his companions, in which the 
fortunes of an exiled nation are depicted and their hopes of resuscitation 
and of return are affirmed, with a guarded language and obscure 
intimations for which Apocalypse is the proper and recognised vehicle. 
All the great historic figures of the Old Testament, or such as were by 
common consent regarded as historic, become in turn the lay-figures for 
the drapery of the Apocalyptist when he wishes to paint approaching 
desolations, or, in the depth of such desolations, to announce the 
approaching consolations of Israel. We might say that in Jewish 
literature (including its prolongation in Christian literature), Apocalypse 
reigned from Adam to Bar Kochba : but even this lower limit is not 

125 10 


low enough ; for there are Apocalypses produced right down to the 
Middle Ages, whenever days were dark enough to require, or a 
distant and brightening horizon to suggest them. The rise of Islam is 
as good ground for an Apocalyptic literature as the various sieges of 
Jerusalem ; Mohammed can be as suggestive as Vespasian or Titus. 
And when we find as in the present tract a new member of the 
company which bear the names of Jeremiah and his friends, we need 
not be surprised that the tradition has lasted so long ; we may say of 
Jeremiah that he being dead yet speaketh ; and as a matter of fact, he 
has been dead just as many times as he may be wanted to speak ; so 
here he is again, as vocal as ever, and we must try and find the date 
and the provenance of his latest resurrection. 

All the great Apocalypses fall, as I think I said somewhere, within 
the penumbra of the Canonical literature, some of them being actually 
canonised. Jeremiah and his disciple Baruch will supply us with 
illustrations. We have not only the Biblical Baruch, but there is also 
the Apocalypse of Baruch, preserved in Syriac and first edited by 
Ceriani. As we have shown in a recent publication of Bar Salibi's 
reply to a Melchite proselytiser, this Syriac Apocalypse was clearly a 
part of Bar Salibi's Canon ; and the reference to it here may illustrate 
the way in which the frontier of the Canon fluctuates from time to 
time and from country to country. A somewhat similar illustration 
may be found in the Greek Apocalypse which I re-edited in 1889 
under the title of the Rest of the Words of Baruch, and which I 
assigned to the year 136 A.D., for here we found that the Greek 
Service Books actually appoint this book to be read on the day when 
they commemorate with the Jews the fall of the beloved city. We 
must admit that the Rest of the Words of Baruch has crept up very 
close to canonical dignity. When I was editing this work (of which 
more presently) I made the following observation (p. 9) : 

" In addition to the three Baruch books to which we have 
been alluding (Apocryphal Baruch, or simply Baruch, Apoca- 
lyptic Baruch, and Christian Baruch) it is very likely that 
there are other Baruch and Jeremiah books which have 

How interesting to find one of these lost books coming to light 
again, nearly forty years after the published lament for its disappear- 


ance : and to myself, how peculiarly interesting to find that the new 
volume (as we shall see presently) incorporates a large part of what 
was included in the Christian Baruch, and that it has fallen into my 
hands to be interpreted, and into the hands of Dr. Mingana, my good 
friend and colleague in all matters where I am able to accompany him. 

The reader will see, at a glance, that the recovered document has 
come to light from an unexpected quarter. It is a Christian Arabic 
book, which we distinguish from the actually translated works of 
Christian fathers in the Arabic tongue, by the term Garshuni ; that 
is, it is a book written in Syriac characters, but in the Arabic language, 
the said language being commonly popular speech rather than the 
classical or semi-classical variety. We may imagine that the reason 
for this duality in the presentation of Christian books, according to 
which an author speaks in one tongue and writes in another, was 
sometimes due to the desire to escape Moslem criticism. There was a 
kind of protection, a guarantee of free speech, about a book written in 
the Syriac character. Such a protection was appropriate to books like 
this Apocalypse of ours, which could add to the obscurity inherent in 
the subject the impenetrability of a scarcely legible script. Popular 
writings escaped notice and veiled writings became more obscure when 
transmitted through the medium of Garshuni. Our document is a 
good illustration of this : the obscurity which it affects has prevented 
scholars from invading the area in which it is found. We expect to 
see a number of similar documents, and we will make a personal 
confession, in view of what is to be found, that we will not, in the 
future, as we have done in the past, despise a document because it 
is written in what we have called Christian Arabic. 

Now let us make a brief analysis of the book before us. We 
will give a summary of its contents, and after that will discuss the 
sources from which the writer has drawn and the relation of the 
book to the Apocalyptic literature generally. We premise that 
much of the Garshuni literature to which we have been referring is 
translated from Syriac into the popular Arabic ; the present book is 
no exception to the general rule : it is a Syriac book : whence the 
Syriac text came from is another matter. We shall probably find out 
that there is a Greek text underlying the Syriac. The story begins in 
true Biblical manner and often in the very terms of the Old Testament 
with the messages of Jeremiah the prophet to King Zedekiah and to the 


people of Jerusalem. They have abandoned Jahweh and gone after 
Baal and Zeus(!) Judgment is threatened to prince and people. 
Thereupon Jeremiah is thrown into a muddy prison, as in the Old 
Testament, after a dramatic dispute with a false prophet, Hananiah, 
whom again we recognise as an ancient Biblical friend. Jeremiah is 
rescued from the mire by his servant Ebedmelech, who now becomes 
as in the Bible a leading character in the Passion Play of Jeremiah. 
The prophet under Divine compulsion goes a second time to King 
Zedekiah and renews the vision of approaching judgment, chains and 
slavery for the king, captivity and massacre for the people. Jeremiah 
sends his disciple Baruch to the king with a letter in which the word 
of the Lord is contained (apparently an Apocalypse of some sort). 
Baruch gets a flogging. Jeremiah is sent for ; he utters further 
Biblical announcements of the coming of the Chaldeans. He is 
promptly sent back to prison, where he would have died, if it had not 
been for the friendly offices of his servant Ebedmelech, who bribes the 
gaoler and keeps alive the saint. After twenty-one days he is 
released, and it is promised to Ebedmelech that he shall not see the 
ruin of the city nor taste death until the calamity of the people is past 
and the wrath of God removed. This mysterious promise and its 
fulfilment will become the foundation of a whole Act of the sacred 
drama. Meanwhile Zedekiah goes from bad to worse ; he desecrates 
the sanctuary, which he transfers to Baal and Zeus, and does many 
impious deeds (which remind one in some details of Herod the 
Great). At last the crash comes. Jeremiah's prayers have now only 
a limited acceptance. The Almighty 'sends his angels on to the scene. 
Michael goes to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon and incites him to war 
against the Jews. To our surprise we find that the King of Babylon 
objects ; he is a friend of the Jews, not an enemy. He does not want 
to hurt the people of God. He sends great gifts and a special 
embassy to Jerusalem. For some reason not very clear the King of 
Babylon is enraged with the reception of his embassy, and he calls on 
Cyrus (sic !), his general, to prepare war. But he is still very 
reluctant, and only moves forward under a sign from heaven. The 
Chaldeans approach Jerusalem. In the interim Ebedmelech is sent 
into the country to fetch fresh fruits and to sleep a long sleep through 
the approaching captivity. The writer now begins to use the Last 
Words of Baruch, as we shall see more clearly presently. 


When Nebuchadnezzar, for whom the writer has a kindly feeling, 
with the aid of Cyrus, for whom he, strange to say, has no affection, 
has taken the city, he calls for Jeremiah whom he recognises as a true 
prophet. Jeremiah makes his last appeal to the Most High, but he 
is told to take a lamp and see if he can find a single honest man, for 
whose sake the city may be spared. Jeremiah is now playing the 
part of Abraham the Patriarch and Diogenes the Cynic, but cannot 
find his honest man. Knowing the city to be doomed, he makes 
plans for secreting the vessels and the vestments of the sanctuary, and 
for the preservation of the Holy Fire, as in the books of the Maccabees. 
He then puts on sackcloth and marches to Babylon with the captives. 
The horrors of deportation are told, and the toils and privations of the 
people are described. So matters go on for the allotted seventy years 
until Nebuchadnezzar dies and is succeeded by his general Cyrus, 
who makes the lot of the people worse with added burdens and 
increasing cruelties. 

At this point of the story Ezra comes on the scene, a person who 
will be wanted in the time of the regeneration of Israel. He is one of 
the children of the captivity, and naturally suffers with the rest of the 
Israelite youth from the over-lordship of the Babylonian boys. The 
writer borrows a framework for introducing Ezra from the Gospel of 
the Infancy. Like Jesus, he breaks his pitcher at the well, and when 
the boys deride him, he folds his cloak into a water-tight carrier. 
Then incensed in heart, and grieved with their contempt, he pours out 
supplication to the Most High. The prayer and the miracle mark him 
out as the one who shall deliver the people from captivity. Ezra and 
his companions thereupon separate themselves from the wanton 
Babylonian boys, and Ezra works another miracle and raises a flood 
of water which well-nigh drowned the world, and would indeed have 
done so, if God had not already made contract against such a 

Cyrus is now on the throne. He insists on a song from the 
refugees of seventy years ago ; when the people sing, the earth 
quakes and the song is heard in Jerusalem. Evidently the day of 
redemption is at hand. Ezra and Daniel and Ezekiel then lay their 
heads together and go out into the wilderness to offer a sacrifice to 
God and to seek a sign from heaven. Michael is sent down and 
consumes their sacrifice by fire which he produces from his wand. 


Now let us return to Jeremiah, who appears after all not to have 
left the city, but remained in a sepulchre. (There seems to be some 
confusion here.) Here Michael the archangel finds him resuming his 
intercessions for Israel. Michael takes him to Babylon, or finds him 
there, and bids him assemble the people, who are busy making bricks 
as in Egypt, and promises him that if Cyrus hardens his heart like 
Pharaoh, he shall be served as Pharaoh was. Cyrus takes the hint, 
plays Pharaoh faithfully, and then the thunder clouds of divine wrath 
appear in the sky. Let my people go, says the prophet. Yes, do 
go, says Babylon : and away they go with their hearts full of joy and 
their pockets full of money ; and they sing a song in a strange land, 
because they are exchanging it for their fatherland. 

Now we come to the sleeper who had gone to the gardens to 
fetch fruit, figs, and grapes. He has fallen asleep in the heat, with 
the basket under his head, while over him a cave or rock had made 
shelter. This part of the story is a modification of that in the Last 
Words of Baruck, but wanting somewhat of the dramatic force of 
the latter. Still it is not wholly lacking. It is a fine situation when 
one wakes from a sleep of seventy years and finds everything changed 
except himself and his basket of figs, which are as fresh as if they too 
had slept. The old man whom he meets, with whom he has a 
chronological dispute, tells him that Jeremiah has just returned from 
captivity, and the people are jubilating and the flags flying, and it is 
like the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Triumphal Entry, for which the 
writer quotes the Diatessaron of Tatian. Ebedmelech has a great 
welcome from Jeremiah, and great honour from the people, who 
indite a song of praise in the good Hebrew manner for all that has 

The rest of the story relates to the discovery and restoration of the 
lost vessels of the sanctuary, which Jeremiah puts in their proper 
place, and the vestments on the proper people ; while on all hands a 
new covenant is assented to, for a fresh allegiance to Jahweh, and a 
final desertion of Baal and of Zeus. The story does not say what 
became of Jeremiah, who ought to be stoned, according to the tradi- 
tion in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Last Words of 
Baruch. But perhaps the writer thought it best not to attach the 
gloom of a tragedy to the joys of the Return. So he only says that 
while Jeremiah lived, the people were faithful to their covenant. 


We may now go on to say something about the time when our 
Apocrypha was produced, which depends in part on the sources 
which have been employed. The simplest method of proceeding will 
be to establish superior limits of time, by reference to authors quoted 
whose date is more or less exactly defined. 

For example, we have suggested that our Jeremiah has employed 
an incident in the Apocryphal Gospel of the Infancy, where Jesus 
carries water in his cloak, after his pitcher has been broken. It may 
be asked how we know that priority belongs to the Gospel of the 
Infancy. May not Jesus' miracle have copied Ezra's, since both are 
apocryphal ? The answer to this is very simple ; we know the reason 
for the Jesus miracle, and the reason, when stated, excludes the 
possible borrowing from Jeremiah. The Gospel of the Infancy is 
concerned with the proofs of the Divine Nature of Christ, especially 
of Christ as Creator, fulfilling his own statement that the Son does the 
same works as the Father. Now amongst the proof-texts which the 
Old Testament was supposed to furnish for this argument, there is 
in the book of Proverbs, at the 30th chapter, a fine poetical out- 
burst taken from some Oriental collection, in which the reader is 
asked : 

" Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended ? Who 
hath gathered the wind in his fists ? Who hath bound the 
waters in a garment ? Who hath established all the ends of 
the earth ? What is his name, and what is his sons name, if 
thou canst tell ? " 

The passage was supposed to contain a reference to the Son of 
God ; and by the simple expedient of a miraculous carrying of water 
in a garment, the argument for Divine Sonship became irresistible. 

We see, then, the origin of the story in the Infancy Gospel : it is 
not borrowed from the Apocryphal Jeremiah, but conversely. The 
date of the Infancy Gospel has never been closely fixed, but it occurs 
in many versions and has very early MS. tradition, so that it is hardly 
likely to be as late as the fourth century. 1 Another landmark was 

1 Its most popular story is the one where Jesus makes mud sparrows, and 
bids them fly away, a tale which caught the fancy of Mohammed. It will be 
noted that this story, also, is designed to prove Christ's creative power, in 
accordance with the dictum of the Almighty in the first chapter of Genesis, 
which caused fowl to fly upon the face of the firmament. It is curious in this 


the reference in the text of Jeremiah to the rejoicings of the people 
on their return from captivity, which are cast in the mould of the 
Triumphal Entry of Jesus to Jerusalem and expressed in the terms of 
the Arabic Diatessaron of Tatian. The matter is so interesting 
from various points of view, that we may devote a little space to it. 

When Ebedmelech comes back from his long sleep at Jerusalem, 
and has been convinced of the reality of that portentous ecstasy by an 
old man whom he meets, the latter says to him : 

11 This month is the month of Nisan, and this day is the first 
day in which the prophet Jeremiah reached Jerusalem, after a 
stay of seventy years in captivity. The words that you utter 
square with one another. Lo ! the people are coming, bringing 
with them branches of palm trees, and holding in their hands 
twigs of aromatic bushes and olive trees." 

It is evident that the language is here coloured by the account of 
the Triumphal Entry, and the reference to the carrying of palm 
branches shows that it is the Gospel of John that is being idrawn on. 
The language itself is peculiar ; the text says ' hearts of palm trees * 
or * pith of palm trees '. Now in an early Irish Gospel (known as 
Cod. r or Armachanus) we get a similar rendering of the yScua of 
John xiii. 2 (medullas palmarum). Comparison with other attempts 
to render the word into Latin suggests that this is the first Latin render- 
ing, and since we get a similar translation in the Syriac version of 
Lev. xxiii., 40, where the feast of Tabernacles is described, as well 
as in the Arabic Diatessaron, we may say that it is a Syriac Gospel 
of John, which has furnished the ' pith of the palms ' both to East 
and West. This must then be Tatian's translation, made under the 
influence of the Peshitta of the Old Testament. Since then our 
Apocryphal Jeremiah is describing a Jerusalem situation, it is John 
xiii., 2 that has influenced him, and not the prescriptions for the Feast 
of Tabernacles. The date of production of Diatessaron, then, is a 
superior limit of time to our Apocryphon. A reference to the margins 
and footnotes will show that the Apocryphal writer has a close 
acquaintance with the text of the Gospels generally, and that he is 

connection to note that the Kur'an (ix, 30) maintains the divinity of 
Christ as a Christian dogma and the divinity of Ezra as a Jewish belief. 
Perhaps in either case on account of the argument from Prov. xxx. and its 
illustrated miracle. 


under the influence o{ the Infancy sections both in Matthew and in 
Luke. With almost equal confidence we may affirm that he was 
acquainted with the Apocryphal Book of Enoch, from whom he 
borrows an archangel (Satanael) upon occasion. He also knows the 
seven archangels of Enoch. For the matter of that, it would be 
difficult to find a writer of this period, whether canonical or apocryphal, 
who is not under the influence of Enoch. 

We come now to the most obvious of all the sources employed by 
our writer ; a large part of his story, viz. the adventures of Ebedmelech, 
is taken from the Last Words of Baruch. This work acquires a 
special interest for us in view of its partial absorption by the newly 
found Apocalypse ; and, as I said above, it is one of my earliest 
publications, which I am reading again with some satisfaction and with 
the inclusion of some corrections. In the editing of this text, or rather 
its re-editing from a number of fresh sources, I had the advantage of 
the counsel and vastly superior knowledge of Dr. Hort. If his name 
does not appear on the pages, it was due to his characteristic self- 
effacement in the work which he did for his colleagues and disciples. 
For instance, when I was trying to find out why, in the story of 
Abimelech, the good man had been sent to the market of the 
Gentiles, according to one of my principal MSS., I consulted 
Dr. Hort as to the meaning of the term, which was too striking to be 
other than original. He asked me what was my best MS., and 
what did my best MS. say ? Then a characteristic advice, ' always 
stick to your best MS.' Nothing further at the time, but next morning 
there lay on the breakfast- table a closely-written post-card with 
references for the fair that was set up, when the last Jewish revolt 
was over, at the Oak of Abraham. In that identification which I 
promptly worked out, I was certainly a jay in peacock's feathers. 

When the book appeared, it was received rather coldly by a 
certain school of critics, because I had found the date of the document, 
and involved in that discovery a quotation from the Gospel of John, 
the earliest known quotation. This would hardly provoke resentment 
at the present day, when it has ceased to be the fashion to talk of the 
Fourth Gospel as the product of the latter half of the second century. 
Critics are not so positive on that point as they were in Dr. Samuel 
Davidson's day ; in other words, they allow other people to know 


In the working out of the theme of the long sleep of Abimelech 
or Ebedmelech, I fell into a curious error. Reading in Maracci the 
account of the Moslem appropriation of the story of the long sleep 
and the basket of figs, and not being sufficiently adroit in the Kuran 
and its commentators, I transcribed the Latin name of the Arabic 
sleeper in Maracci as Alchedrum, taking the Latin accusative as the 
proper name. Only two letters in excess, but those two letters 
brought me a prompt correction from my friend Robertson Smith, 
who was always ready to help me, and a thousandfold better 
Orientalist than I, in which he advised me that I had stumbled over 
the romantic sleeping figure of the Kuran al Khidr. A similar 
correction reached me from Rabbi Kohler of New York, along with 
some Talmudic parallels, followed by the flattering request (to which 
I was not disposed to accede) that I would edit the article on 
Apocrypha in the Jewish Encyclopedia. Dr. Robertson Smith's 
letter was so interesting, and so like himself, that I am going to subjoin 
it to my story. 

Mth October, 1890. 


In your Baruch, p. 41 , your Alchedrum whom you 
have from Maracci is of course Al-Khadir or Al-Kkidr, a very 
obscure personage, who is sometimes regarded as the Moslem St. 
George. That some doctors suppose him to be the person alluded to 
in Sura ii., 261 Maracci has (no doubt) from Baidawi's note on the 
passage. I think you must be right in supposing that Sura ii., 261 
contains an allusion to the story of Abimelech ; but did the com- 
mentators, who say that Al-Khadir, is the person referred to, say this 
at a guess, or had they some knowledge of their own about the 
Christian legend ? 

I have to remark first of all that the identification of Al-Khadir 
with the man who slept for 100 years might be suggested by the 
legend (Tabari i., 4 1 2) that Al-Khadir, a companion of Alexander, 
drank of* the water of life (which has a prominent place in the 
Alexander Romance) and is still alive. Nevertheless it is notable 
that Tabari also connects him with Abraham and with the dispute 
about the possession of the well of Beersheba. Abraham is said to 
have brought this dispute to Alexander (Dhu '1-Karnain is Alexander, 
tho* Tabari mentions that some take him to be a different person) and 
the well was adjudged to Al-Khadir. This looks as if Al-Kh. were 
mixed up with Abimelech, king of Gerar. That your Abimelech 


and the Philistine king should be mixed up will surprise no one who 
knows the Arab way of using Biblical stories. That great liar the 
Jew Wahb b. Monabbih identified Al-Khadir with Jeremiah. This 
too might be a mere guess the city being Jerusalem or it may 
indicate some confused acquaintance with your story. Finally Al- 
Khadir is commonly taken to be son of Malkan. The patronymic 
Ibn-Malkan does suggest Abimelech. Of these points the only one 
that seems to me important is the association with Beersheba. That 
goes far to prove that the expositors of the Kuran knew your story 
and connected it with Sura ii., 261. 

Yours ever, 
(Signed) W. R. SMITH. 

Rabbi Kohler, to whom I alluded above, was as quick as Dr. 
Robertson Smith to correct my slip over the Moslem sleeper ; but he 
also sent me a mass of Talmudic references, which were marked by 
the usual Hebrew diversity in dealing with a supposed historical event 
with a possible chronology. He regarded the Last Words as an 
original Hebrew book from an Essene writer, and that the victim of 
popular anger who was stoned in Jerusalem was not Jeremiah, but an 
Essene hero named Onias, of whom the Talmud tells in Taanith, 
chapter 3. He also pointed out to me that there was Rabbinical 
tradition for actually identifying Ebedmelech and Baruch (see Pirke 
Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 53), and that Ebedmelech was actually made (as 
in our new Apocryphon) into the servant of King Zedekiah the 
Distinguished One. Neither the Rabbi nor myself was able to 
explain the series of anachronisms in the Talmudic treatment of what 
was evidently a favourite subject ; and as to the existence of a 
Hebrew original for all these various forms of legend, I am content to 
leave the matter in the hands of those who are better skilled in detect- 
ing Hebrew originals than myself. 

As it is nearly forty years since the Rest of the Words of 
Baruch appeared, and I have hardly looked at it since, it has been 
possible for me to regard it dispassionately, and to say that it really 
was not a bad book, and might have had a more favourable reception. 
There is still a good deal to be learned from its pages by the student 
of Apocrypha. Returning now to the relation between the Last 
Words and the new Baruch, the priority of the Last Words which 
turned out not to be the Last Words, will be evident. One of the 
most striking variations is in the geography of the writer. I was able 
to show that the Last Words, like its predecessor the Syriac 
Apocalypse of Baruch, was a Jerusalem book, in which one could see 


Hebron rise to the south of Jerusalem, and pass on the way thither 
the gardens of Agrippa, which could be reached either by the main 
road to Hebron or by the mountain road to Solomon's pools. The 
modern tourist in Palestine would recognise the provenance of the 
writer at once. But it was this very exactness of locality which 
perplexed the later Apocalyptist. He wanted figs, but saw no reason 
why the gardens of Agrippa should supply them ; and as for the 
mountain road, it might just as well have been the Milky Way. He 
drops all these identifications, including the Fair at the Terebinth 
where the Jews were sold cheap, as slaves, after the Hadrianic war 
in fact he had no geography and wanted none. All that his story 
needed was a cave for the sleeper and a basket of fruit. The other 
details have evidently been excised. The hand is not a Jerusalem 
hand as in the case of the earlier documents. 

In passing, we ought, perhaps, to add to what we said previously 
about the acquaintance of our writer with Christian Gospels. We 
spoke of Matthew and Luke, but ought not Mark to be also on the 
horizon ? For when we read that the old man argues with Abimelech 
over his figs and says that this is the month Nisan and Nisan (April) 
is not the season for figs, we are reminded that the very same ex- 
pression is used in Mark, when Jesus, on His way from Bethany to 
Jerusalem, essayed to satisfy His hunger from a certain fig-tree. If, 
however, this is a Marcan trait, it is also found in the Last Words, 
and must not be set down as a first-hand quotation. Just as the 
writer obscures the geographical solution, he also destroys the chrono- 
logy. Seventy years of captivity was classical, but sixty- six was 
meaningless. Here again the superiority and priority of the Last 
Words was evident. The later MSS. of the Last Words fell into 
the same natural error. 

We must now say a few words on the question of the existence or 
extent of Jewish influences in our new document. A similar enquiry 
was raised in regard to the Last Words of Baruch which was 
asserted, in certain quarters, to be a bona-fide Jewish document, in 
spite of the fact that it was obviously coloured by the Christian 
Gospels. In our new text we have also passages which look like 
evangelical reflections, but at the same time there are other passages 
which require the Talmud, or at least the folk-lore traditions embedded 
in the Talmud, for their elucidation. The most interesting case is that 


in which the wife of Nebuchadnezzar makes a personal appeal to him 
not to engage in hostile movements against the Jews. She bursts into 
tears when she is informed of her husband's designs, ' What king is 
there,' says she, ' that engaged in warfare with this people, and was 
saved ? Dost thou not know that this is the people of God, and that 
everything that they ask from God they obtain it forthwith ? ' The 
queen's name is Hilkiah, which, whether masculine or feminine, has a 
Hebrew cast, and suggests that the lady may have been a captive or a 

Now if we turn to the Talmud, Taanith, xxiv. 2, we find a 
similar story told of the mother of the Persian king Shapor II. : we 
notice that here it is the mother and not the wife that makes the 
appeal : 

" Iphra Honniz, the mother of King Shapor, said to her son, 
' Have nothing to do with those Jews, for whatever they ask 
from their Lord, he gives it to them.' He says to her, 4 How 
so ? ' She replied, ' They asked for mercy and the rain came.' 
He said to her, ' It was because of the time of the year that the 
rain came. But let them ask for rain now, in the time of the 
summer solstice, and let the rain come.' Whereupon she sent a 
messenger to Rabbah and said, ' Have a care of yourself ; implore 
mercy and rain will come.* " 

This lady, whose name, as we have seen, was Iphra Hormiz, is 
frequently referred to in the Talmud, so that it has been suspected 
that she was a Jewish proselyte. 

Evidently we have stumbled, in our new Apocalypse, upon the 
same story that occurs in the Talmud. We must not, however, 
conclude that there has been direct Jewish influence on our Apoca- 
lypse, for the tradition of Iphra Hormiz and her Jewish sympathies 
was well-known in the East Syrian Church. 

Nor can we altogether ignore the similarity that there is between 
the tradition that we are discussing and the story in the Gospel of 
Matthew of Pilate's wife and her dream. Just as the queen-mother 
of Persia is awakened from her sleep in order to interfere with her 
husband's anti- Jewish projects, we have the wife of Pilate sending to 
say that she has suffered much for Jesus in a dream ; and just as the 
mother of King Shapor appeals to him to have nothing to do against 
those good people the Jews, so we have Pilate's wife appealing 


against his doing anything unfriendly to the good man whom he 
has before him for judgment. Is it possible that she also may have 
had secret sympathies with the Jews or with Jesus, or an actual 
acquaintance with Him ? 

As to Jewish influence generally, it is in the highest degree improb- 
able that such grotesque views of Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar as are 
presented in our tract can have come from a Jewish source. 



The reason for the existence of a multitude of Apocryphal writings 
is in the main twofold. There will be in the first instance the class of 
works in which the Apocryphal writer is dominated by an Apocryphal 
situation, some concurrence of misfortunes which threaten his nation, or 
some dreaded recurrence of misfortunes which have left their mark 
upon past history ; the exigency of the time makes the man, who is 
peculiarly a child of the time, to become a literary artist of the time. 
He will write, or paint (the two words being primitively equivalent) 
in lurid colours when he describes the miseries of his people, he will 
have Gehenna itself for his palette when he lays on the flaming patches 
of the Divine Judgments. Nor will he always be a mean artist, even 
if using popular dialect or writing in a half cipher (' he that readeth, 
let him understand ') for along with the moving tale of disasters in the 
sun and perplexities on the earth, there will rise in his imagination the 
story of storms succeeded by calm, and a lovelier city to replace the one 
that was devastated and wasted. 

The second class of Apocrypha is due, not to any peculiar strain 
in the environment of the writer, but to a desire to fill up a deficit in 
literature, and to complete a story that has been imperfectly told, or 
perhaps not told at all. Every history, whether personal, local or 
national, has lacunae in it ; if we are interested sufficiently in place, 
person or people, we shall want to know or we shall pretend to know 
how those empty spaces may be filled. The pretence to know is of 
the very essence of a whole line of Apocryphal works. 

For instance, the Gospel knows nothing or next to nothing of areas 
in our Lord's life, where we would like to know much. It is our 
modern spirit, I suppose, that makes us discontented with such informa- 


rion as might be gathered from a Family Bible or a genealogical tree : 
but those of us who have family Bibles of any age, or ancestral 
records, are well aware that these too are subject to Apocryphal 
insertions ; and even in the scriptures we suspect that genealogies 
could be produced because they were wanted, as occurs even to-day in 
Arab circles. ' Abraham begat Isaac ' may be historical, at least we 
hope so, and make it almost creedal ; but the fact that Aminadab 
begat Aram does not provoke belief so readily. It all turns on the 
point whether master Aminadab and his progeny were produced 
because the historian wanted them. Now the Biblical story may 
have supplied these genealogical matters, because the self-respect of a 
family required them ; and in that case they are Apocrypha ; but 
even if that were the case, the modern spirit of history would not be 
satisfied with them, even if they were flaunted in our face in the fore- 
front of the Gospels. We are sensible of a wider area of lacunae than 
the person who hunts or imagines family registers. 

Now we are not able to tell at what point the hungry student of 
the life of Christ began asking for more history or for earlier history. 
Such hungry sheep might look up to St. Mark and certainly not be 
fed. They would get something from St. Matthew and a little more 
from St. Luke ; might we, for instance, say that St Luke's account of 
our Lord's visit at twelve years of age to the Temple was a historian's 
instinctive intrusion into an uncharted area ? It may be so, and will 
stand, in that case, to St. Luke's credit, which credit already stands 
high. But in that case, why did he leave that great Terra Incognita 
on his map between the life-parallels of twelve and thirty ? If he was 
as interested in a child who could puzzle the doctors with questions 
and surprise them with quick answers, why has he no interest in 
the growing boy upon whom the shades of the prison house were 
beginning to close ? 

It is in such lacunae that the Apocryphist of our second species 
finds his opportunity. We cannot, however, fail to be surprised that, 
with such a canvas lying idle, no artist had seized it for some three 
centuries after it had been exposed. The Gospels of the Infancy, 
and the Gospel of the Boyhood are lacuna-Gospels. So are the 
stories which tell of the Birth, Death and Rapture of the Virgin, 
whose attractiveness secures them, even at the present day, a place of 
recognition in the Christian Calendar, from which they can be detached 


with difficulty. From Jesus and His mother the enquiring spirit 
naturally passes over to ask for further information as to His great 
Forerunner, John the Baptist. The existing history is only vocal about 
John where the two lives of John and Jesus overlap, or where one 
personality (either of them will do) bears testimony to the righteous- 
ness of the authority of the other. And even here it is the Birth- 
story and the Mournful Death that take most of the space. Who 
would not rejoice, if a papyrus should turn up, to do for John the 
Baptist what Mark did for Jesus ? So, without raising our hopes too 
high, we turn to a recently found Life of John the Baptist in an 
Arabic MS. to see if we can gather anything further with regard to 
the Baptist, beyond what can be picked up, in the shape of fragments, 
from the Gospel itself. 

We premise that there are numerous indications in Christian 
literature of the desire to fill in what might seem to be deficiencies in 
the known story of St. John. One of the most interesting was caused 
by the request of our Lord's disciples that He would teach them to 
pray as John also taught his disciples. It was natural to ask what 
was the form of prayer which was displaced by the Oratio Dominica. 
The answer was supplied by some early Christian and is even now 
extant in a Syriac form. It runs as follows in the MS. Add. 12, 138 
of the British Museum : 

The Prayer which John taught his disciples : " Father, show 
me thy Son ; Son, show me thy Spirit ; Holy Spirit, make me 
wise in thy truth." 
But some say it was like this : 

" Holy Father, sanctify me by thy truth, and make me to 
know the glory of thy greatness, and show me thy Son, and fill 
me with thy Spirit, that I may be illuminated with thy 

The next increment to our supposed knowledge is called for by 
our sense that Divine Justice had not been satisfied, if Herodias and 
her daughter were allowed to go scot free. The student of English 
literature will find this very proper sentiment expressed in verse in a 
poem of Vaughan the Silurite on the theme of The Daughter of 
Herodias. Here is a verse from this poem, with an explanatory 
footnote, such as would be required by the ignorance of the reader : 


Leave then, young Sorceress ; the Ice 
Will those coy spirits cast asleep, 
Which teach thee now to please his eyes 
Who doth thy lothsome mother keep. 

The note runs as follows : Her name was Salome : in passing over 
a frozen river, the ice broke under her, and chopt off her head. 

It may be asked where Vaughan in the seventeenth century found 
this Apocryphal addition to the New Testament record. It is 
certainly found in the East as well as the West, for we have some- 
thing of the kind in the commentaries of Bar Salibi. The first form 
of the legend is more difficult to determine. We shall find one form 
in the document before us. All that we say at present is that the 
Apocryphal story was the outcome of a sense that Justice had not been 

But now let us come to our Life of St. John, where we shall find 

a curious mixture of history and legend ; in the first place the author 

has Worked over the Biblical account in a very accurate manner ; 

next, we shall see that he has blended with it an amount of Apocryphal 

detail, sufficient to justify us in classifying the writing itself as 

Apocryphal ; and last of all, when he comes to discourse of the final 

disposal of St. John's relics, he reverts from legend to history, and 

gives us the means of identifying himself as a real person, of high 

standing in the church at Alexandria. He tells us that his name was 

Serapion, and that he had been ordained to one of the Egyptian 

episcopal centres by Timothy who was Patriarch of Alexandria from 

A.D. 380 to 385. The Egyptian origin of our translation (at least of 

one of the forms in which our Arabic text has come down to us) is 

betrayed by the occurrence of the name of a Coptic month in the 

narration. Serapion tells us, in fact, that at a somewhat earlier date 

the faithful brought the bones of the Baptist to Alexandria, where a 

church was built to receive them, and a magnificent celebration was 

held on the second day of the month Baouna. The document, then, 

is by provenance Egyptian, and it is historical and can be dated at 

the close of the fourth century. The miracles wrought at the tomb 

of the saint are also historical, so far as miracles can be, which are 

evidently made to order, to enhance the dignity of the newly enshrined. 

We must not be surprised if here also, as in so many other cases of 

discovery and location of bones of saints, the fervour with which the 

1 1 


miracle-loving people believed and the benevolent saint operated, soon 
subsided into a normal good feeling without supernatural attestations. 
No need to give instances of this general statement ; they might be 
compromising to great names in the church. In the matter of belief, 
non omnes possumus omnia. 

Now let us return to the story of the Baptist's birth ; it follows 
closely the scriptural account, but with explanatory additions, mostly 
of an Apocryphal character. We can easily see the genesis of these. 
Our document is, in fact, a homily to be read at the festival of the 
saint. The writer says so : 

' The body of the holy John the Baptist, the saint whose 
feast we are celebrating to-day, remained in Sebaste which is 
Nablus of Samaria for four hundred years." 

What more natural, then, than that Serapion, as preacher for the 
day, should have added to his narrative such current stories as might 
make the lessons for the day more interesting. It is a practice which 
still prevails. One may say of it, what Mistress Quickly says, in 
apology for the presence of a joint of mutton in her Tavern in the 
holy season of Lent, " all vintners do it." Coming, then, to those 
points in the Baptist's Infancy Gospel where the people would have 
liked to ask questions, and perhaps did ask them, one would like to 
know whether the good man really did eat locusts, and whether his 
sanctity has a shadow cast over it from his diet. And further, how 
was it possible for a child of tender years to live in the desert all the 
years which intervened between his leaving his home, and his return 
as a prophet to Israel ? It is well known that the difficulty over 
St. John and his carnivorous diet is chronic in the East : as early as 
the time of Tatian and the Eucratites the biblical text was subject to 
correction by the substitution of a diet of milk and honey for the 
offensive locusts. Even before Tatian's day, in Greek-speaking circles 
in Palestine, the locusts (d/c/DtSes) had been replaced by pancakes 
(ey/cptSes). Those who held to the milk and honey diet for 
the youthful saint, had to employ their imagination in a further 
direction, in order to explain how the necessary and constant milk 
supply was to be obtained in the desert. They settled it by sending 
St. Elizabeth into the desert with her son. Bar Salibi tells us that 
this maternal function was discharged for a period of fifteen years, at 
the close of which time we may assume that Elizabeth died. Now 


that our writer knows something of this tradition is clear (i) from the 
fact that Elizabeth actually takes her son into the desert ; (ii) that he 
reduces the abnormal lactation to three years, which is not unusual in 
the East ; (iii) he has a special death in the desert for Elizabeth, over 
which he dilates as Browning might have done if he had known the 
story and been enamoured of the theme. For other and similar 
explanations of St. John and his locusts, the reader may refer to my 
book, Epkrem and the Gospel, pp. 17-19. 

The Apocryphal expansions for which we have found the motive 
deserve a closer attention. Our writer oscillates between a carnivorous 
and a vegetable diet. First he will have the locusts, and then again 
he disowns them. We are told that ' the blessed John wandered in 
the desert with his mother, and God prepared for him locusts and 
wild honey as food. But after the death of his mother, when John 
was only seven years and six months old, the writer says that ' John 
lived in great asceticism and devotion. His only food was grass and 
wild honey* Here is another solution of the problem how to keep 
St. John a vegetarian ! 

The next problem for the thoughtful mind was the question of the 
burial of the sainted mother by her seven-year-old child. The 
situation demanded celestial assistance, a theophany, an angelophany, 
as well as the aid which women render at such times to the departed. 
Our Lord appears on a cloud, accompanied by His mother and 
Salome, and with attendant 'angels and archangels. This cloud-flying 
motive was familiar to the Apocryphal mind. Not only had they 
Christ's promise that the Son of Man should be seen on the clouds of 
heaven, but the descent into Egypt had been explained by the language 
of the prophet that the Lord should mount on a white cloud and come 
into Egypt, where some said the white cloud was Mary. So there 
was no difficulty ; adest Deus, adest Machina. Jesus, at the age of 
seven years, orders the obsequies and makes appropriate predictions. 

Really the desert which our writer describes was not a very 
formidable or distant affair. He combines it with the location of 
Ain Karim near Jerusalem, which could be reached in a very short 
space of time without an aeroplane ! The New Testament student 
will notice that our text interprets 15 iroXw 'lovSa in Luke i. 39, as 
being a town called Judah, for which the authorities may be consulted 
on one side or the other. Coming now to the somewhat diffusely 


treated subject of the relations between the Baptist and the Herodian 
circle, we find ourselves in a folk-lore atmosphere with an independent 
development. It is commonly supposed that Herodias, when she had 
received the head of the Baptist, opened the mouth and pierced with 
her bodkin the reproving tongue. In our tale she proposes to cut out 
the tongue, place the eyes in a dish, and use his long hair to stuff 
her bolster. These incidents, threatened but not occurring, came 
back as curses are wont to do in biblical and semi-biblical tales, and 
attached themselves to the fortune of Herodias, whose house came 
down about her ears, and whose eyes left their sockets. Then the 
writer shows the motive of his tale. It was the head of the Baptist 
that had been insulted, and was now being avenged. And it was 
the head whose fate as a sacred relic he now proposed to tell : for he 
perhaps had it near him when he was preaching ; the people knew it 
wasion hand ; it may even have been on exhibition for the day, as often 
happens on the great days of great saints. 

Now the history of relics is the most difficult part of the science 
of hagiology. On one side it is a history of ecclesiastical lying, a long 
series of volumes running parallel to the history of the church itself. 
On the other side it is not to be denied that martyrs and holy men had 
bones, and that these bones have a permanence to which the body 
itself lays no claim, and which lends themselves to pious remembrance. 
Why should not some of them be genuine ? One reason, of course, 
is the tendency of the relic to multiply, to become ubiquitous. John 
the Baptist's head is a case in point. Our writer says it was pre- 
served at Sebaste, which he wrongly identified with Nablus. It is 
still said to be there. But then it was also preserved in the great 
Mosque at Damascus, and again in the town of Horns (Emesa). 
Our writer says it was preserved for 400 years at Sebaste, and lay 
there in peace till the time of Julian the Apostate. Then in a time of 
the imperial rage against the Christians, the churches were desecrated, 
and men found in the church at Sebaste two coffins ; from the contents, 
which included shirts of camel's hair, it was inferred that these were 
the coffins of the Baptist and of Elisha, the one having been, 
by the design of providence for putting things side by side that 
belonged together, laid in adjacent tombs. So they gathered up the 
relics and secretly sent them to Alexandria. It does not positively say 
that the head was there. In fact it was a very elusive head, and had 


been flying over the city of Jerusalem for many years and crying out 
its condemnation of King Herod and his lawless marriage. From 
which we may infer, if we please, that no one knows what really 
became of it There are always various solutions for the history of a 
relic ; but this does not mean that all relics are unhistorical : it would 
be more correct to say, with a suitable motion of the eyelid, that all 
of them cannot be historical ; say, for example, all the eight-day 
clocks which are said to have come over in the Mayflower. But now 
we are spoiling our story by modern illustrations. It is historical to 
say that some relics supposed to be of the Baptist, were deposited by 
Bishop Serapion in the church consecrated to his memory in Alexandria 
at the end of the fourth century. 


Uncanonical Psalms. 

The next contribution to the unedited Syriac literature consists of 
a group of Psalms, of no special intrinsic value, but not without interest 
if they illustrate to us the wide extent of the early hymnology, whether 
that of the Hebrew community as contained in the conventional Psalter 
and assigned to King David or imitated in the early Christian Church 
under the authorship of King Solomon and the title of his Odes. 
There is a literary bridge between the two collections in those Psalms 
of the Pharisees which were written a few years before the coming of 
our Lord, and are also dignified with a Solomonic authorship. 

The most elementary criticism of the Psalter as the term is 
commonly used will show that it is an edited volume, made to order, 
and limited in its content to 1 50 songs. Even a child of the present 
age can see, what the prophets and kings of previous critical ages failed 
to apprehend, that it cannot be all of it Davidic in origin, and that 
perhaps none of it is his. It belongs to different ages, and is probably 
made up, like a modern hymn-book, out of previous handbooks of 
song, covering a period that reached nearly to the Christian era. The 
mere fact of its numerical limitation is sufficient to show that it is mis- 
cellaneous in character, and contains, in consequence, like all hymn- 
books, many things which ought to have been left out, and by inference 
that it has left out a good many things that ought to have been put in. 


That simple statement sets the watchman in Oriental lore on the look- 
out for appendices to the Psalter, and for a more varied authorship 
than that of David. Indeed, as is well known, the Psalter does not 
profess to be wholly Davidic, even if it be heavily Davidized. There 
are other suggestions of individual singers and groups of singers which 
can hardly be neglected. Perhaps it was that learned group of 
translators and higher critics, whom we call by the name of the 
Septuagint, who first speculated on the situation which provoked the 
Hebrew Psalms, and searched the story of David, in order to make 
him sing the right thing at the right time. There were musical critics, 
too, as we can see from the head-lines in Moffatt's translation, to tell 
us what kind of instruments and what range of voices were proper for 
any special chant. Good fellows, no doubt, who did not object to 
using a hymn-book ascribed to the sons of Korah, because Korah had 
disappeared, so they said, in a theologically accentuated earthquake. 
But these modifications as to authorship and musical treatment left the 
popular opinion unchanged ; David wrote them, the words expressed 
his thought and the tunes answered to his harp. 

As a Greek MS. expresses it, which I once saw in Jerusalem : 

" David sat on the tower which is named after him in Jerusalem, 
and elegantly composed his Psalms." 

A burdensome belief ! but then the Psalter itself is a burdensome 
legacy, from which both the Christian Church and individual believers 
have suffered much, and from whose dominance the Christian Church 
is slowly beginning to shake itself loose. The observation which we 
made as to the over- Davidized head-lines, shows that premature 
criticism leads to theological disaster ; take, for instance, the 1 1 Oth 
Psalm, to whose Davidic authorship Jesus found himself committed, 
which becomes the basis for the Session at the Right Hand of the 
Father, and the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek ! 

Our reason for referring to these matters lies in the little collection 
which is here published : the first Psalm in the group is not new : it 
is sometimes printed as an Appendix to the Psalter, and is known as 
the 1 5 1 st. The reason for it is obvious. Among all the odd situations 
for Davidic psalmody which the earlier collectors imagined and which 
the Septuagint has conserved, there was nothing in the form of a 
triumphal ode over Goliath. There was a song written when the 
Ziphites told Saul that David was in hiding among them, another when 


Joab had defeated 1 2,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt, while the 
lovely 34th Psalm is said to be the work of David when he escaped 
arrest by pretending to be mad ; but no word about Goliath ! The 
Sunday schools of that day must have resented the omission ! Ap- 
parently it was a Greek hand that rectified it and put it as an 
Appendix to the completed collection. Not that it is ever going to be 
said or sung. It isn't deep enough for that. Its main purpose is to 
rectify an omission, which it does awkwardly enough. We do not 
think it has a Hebrew original ; probably it passed from Greek into 
Syriac, as we have it before us. In the West it does not seem to have 
had much acceptance, but it may interest some persons of antiquarian 
taste to know that, in the last century, it was rendered into Lowland 
Scottish by Dr. Hately Waddell. 


(z) A Jeremiah Apocryphon. 

IN the following pages I give the translation (accompanied by a 
critical apparatus) of a rather strange work purporting to 
contain the history of the events that preceded and followed 
the deportation of the Jews to Babylon. I have followed in my 
edition two manuscripts : Paris 65 1 and Mingana Syr. 240, in the 
custody of the Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham, designated here- 
after by the letters P. and M. respectively. P. is dated 1 905 of the 
Greeks (A.D. 1594), and M. has lost its colophon, but on palaeo- 
graphical grounds may be ascribed to about A.D. 1650. The former 
was written at Hamat, and the latter was recently acquired by me in 
Kurdistan. No attention has been paid to Paris 238, 2 273, 3 
and 276, 4 because all the above MSS. seem to contain only two 
different recensions of the story, and Paris 65 and Mingana Syr. 240 
offer the best specimen of each recension. 

From footnotes that I have added to the following pages the reader 
will conclude that I believe that P. which is now in Garshuni was 
transcribed from a MS. written in Arabic characters and executed in 
Egypt. The same, however, could not be said of M. This fact 
induces us to suppose that the two recensions of the story referred to 
above may provisionally be divided into an Egyptian recension and a 
Syrian, Palestinian, or Mesopotamian recension. The discrepancies and 
verbal differences which characterise the two recensions are profound 
and unmistakeable. 

I first tried to establish from all the above MSS. a good text for 
the body of the story and relegate the numerous variants to the foot- 

1 P. 32 in Zotenberg's catalogue. 

2 P. 191 in Zotenberg's catalogue. (The MS. is dated 1785 of the 
Greeks (A.D. 1474).) 

3 P. 2 1 2 in Zotenberg's catalogue. (The MS. is of the sixteenth century.) 

4 P. 214 in Zotenberg's catalogue. (The MS. is of the seventeenth 



notes, but in the course of my transcription I discovered that the plan 
was impracticable, and I was driven to the conclusion that the best 
method to give an adequate idea of each recension would be to edit 
separately all the text of its best specimen, and this is the reason why 
the reader finds for his guidance in the present work a complete set of 
facsimiles of all P. and of all M. The same difficulty presented itself 
to me in the translation. To note all the variants of each recension 
seemed to me to be cumbersome and useless, so I confined myself to 
refer in short notes only to the most important variants exhibited by 
the two MSS. In a few cases the translation represents a combina- 
tion of both P. and M. and the purely verbal discrepancies and still 
more the orthographical variants have been completely ignored. 

The Arabic used in the story is grammatically and lexicographically 
more correct than that used in the " Exhortation to Priesthood " which 
I edited and translated on pp. 97-120, but it is still much below the 
standard of what a good piece of classic Arabic should be. 1 If it 
comes to be established that the Arabic text is a translation from a 
foreign language an opinion to which I cannot subscribe I might be 
tempted to assert that the story was originally written in Greek, from 
which it was translated into Syriac, and that the Syriac gave rise to the 
recension represented by M. As to the recension represented by P. it 
was possibly translated either direct from Greek or more probably from 
a Coptic intermediary, before it came under the influence of the Syrian 
copyists. I was not aware till very late that P. had been transcribed in 
Arabic characters and translated in R.O. 1910, pp. 255-266, 398- 
404, and 19! 1, pp. 128-143. The MS. has lost nothing, however, 
by a more critical edition. 

The story itself appears to me to emanate from a man who lived 
either in Egypt or in Western (not Eastern) Palestine. 


We will write concerning - the deportation of the Children of 
Israel to Babylon at the hand of the King Nebuchadnezzar in the 
days of the prophet Jeremiah. 3 

1 Only the most important mistakes have been corrected in the footnotes. 

- P. : " In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, one God, 
we will begin by the assistance of God and His help to narrate the history 
of ..." 

3 P. adds : " May his prayer protect us and you. Amen." 


And the word of God came to the prophet Jeremiah saying : x 
" Say to the King Zedekiah and to the people of the Children of 
Israel, ' Why do you add sins to your sins, 2 and iniquity to your 
iniquity ? My eye has seen your deeds, and my ear has heard your 
sayings. If you had fasted, I would have been merciful to you ; and 
if you had prayed, I would have listened to you, says the Lord 
Omnipotent You have not fasted to me, nor have you stretched 
your hands towards me, but you have fasted to Baal and prayed to 
Zeus, and you have forgotten the Lord God of Abraham and said, 
' Who is the God of Israel ? ' You have been unmindful of all my 
goodness to you when I took you out of the land of Egypt, delivered 
you from the servitude of Pharaoh, 3 and smote the inhabitants of 
Egypt with plagues. I cared for you like a tender mother 4 cares for 
her 5 virgin daughters until she delivers them up to the bridegroom, in 
order that no harm may befall you in all your ways. 

" I have glorified you above all nations, and have called you my 
people, O Children of Israel. I have brought you out of a wilderness 
full of scorpions and vipers, and made you dwell in the desert forty 
years while your dresses did not wear out, your shoes were not torn 
up, and the hair of your heads did not grow up, and in all that length 
of time your clothing did not show any dirt on it. I gave you the 
bread of angels from heaven, while a column of light shone upon you 
by night, and a cloud protected you by day. I guarded you with my 
right hand and my holy arm, and delivered you from the hands of 
your enemies and made you possess that for which you had not toiled. 
I took you out of the depth of the sea, and you beheld your enemies 
behind you standing by the sea like statues. I sent down angels from 
heaven to assist you in crossing the middle of the sea, and drowned 
the chariots of Pharaoh in its depth 6 with promptitude. I ordered 
the abysses to cover them, and made you enter a land for which you 
had not toiled, a land that flows with milk and honey, and put your 
fear in the hearts (of your enemies). 

" After all these things which I did for you, you have forgotten 
my name and said, ' There is no God but Baal and Zeus.' You 

1 Note the Biblical parallelism of the following lines. 

J Read : taziduna in M. and dhunuban in P. 

3 P. omits the proper name. * P. omits " mother." 

5 P. " her sons and her ..." c See Exodus, XV, 1 sqq. 


have returned to me evil for good, forsaken me, offered sacrifices to 
Baal, and immolated your sons and daughters to Zeus. You have 
turned away from me, all of you, old and young, and have committed 
injustices against one another. The seed of adultery has appeared in 
your midst, and there is no just judge among you. If you persist in 
these deeds, says the Lord, I will inflict calamities on you and cause 
my wrath to flow like a flowing river which does not turn back. 
Your young men will die smitten with the sword, and your old men 
of hunger and thirst ; your children will be deported while you look 
at them, and your great city will be destroyed. Your land shall 
become a deserted waste, because I lost patience with you, says the 
Lord Omnipotent. I bore with you so that perchance you may 
repent and return to me, and I return to you. But now I have turned 
my face away from you. 1 

" While you were doing my will and were calling me, ' O Lord, 
O Lord,' I was listening to you with promptitude ; but now were you 
to cry to me I would not answer you and say, ' Here I am,' nor 
would I send down to you dew in time and rain in season. In the 
days when you were obedient to me, all the nations were trembling 
before you. Each one of you used to chase a thousand, and two put 
ten thousand to flight, 2 and my angels preceded you anywhere you 
halted. But when you offended me, all the earth turned against you ; 
and the sun and the moon mourned 3 over you because they beheld 
your prevarication, your worship of idols, and all the iniquity which is 
within you, and which you perpetrated before the idol of Zeus. 4 You 
kindled my wrath and did not return to me, says the Lord Omni- 
potent, God of Israel.' " 

The prophet Jeremiah rose up then and went to King Zedekiah. 
He saw him sitting in the Sun-Gate, 5 and with him was a company 
of false prophets, who were prophesying falsely to him. When King 
Zedekiah saw the prophet Jeremiah, he stood up before him and 
received him and said to him : " O seer, hast thou the word of God 
in thy mouth 6 in these days ? " And Jeremiah the prophet said to 
him : " Here is the word ; " and he narrated to him the word of 

1 About a third of a page is here torn in M. 

2 Deut. xxxii. 30. s Syr. akhri. 

4 P. omits the sentence which deals with Zeus. 

5 A proper name of a gate dedicated to the deity Shemesh " sun." 

6 P. omits " mouth." 


God before all the people. When the king heard the words of the 
prophet Jeremiah he waxed very angry, and asked the people and the 
false prophets who were round him whether that young man was 
mad. 1 And Hananiah, 2 the liar, rose up, put on his head horns of 
iron, 3 and began to speak and say, ' This is what the Lord God says : 
" Thou, O king, shall triumph over thy enemies and over these ' and 
he made a sign to north, south, east, and west and proceeded thus : 
" No one will be able to contradict thee, O king, nor dwell in the 
land." And there was then no word of God in the mouth of 
the prophet Jeremiah. 

When the king heard these words from Hananiah, the liar and 
the deceiver, in the presence of all the false prophets his companions, 
he said to those of his -servants that were present: "Take this 
Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon, in the lowest pit, which is 
full of mire, 4 in order that he may die ; no other food should be given 
to him apart from a little bread and water in order that we may know 
whether the word of God is with him or not." Then they threw 
forthwith Jeremiah in the place which the king had designated. 

When Abimelech, 5 a servant in constant attendance on the king, 
heard that King Zedekiah had thrown Jeremiah into prison, he rose 
up and inquired after the place where King Zedekiah was staying, 
and went to him. When the king saw the servant approaching him, 
he said to him : "Be welcome, O faithful servant ; thou hast come 
to-day to us ; what is thy request ? " And the servant said to him : 
" O king what has the prophet Jeremiah done, that you should have 
acted with him in this way ? Do you not fear God, O king, in cast- 
ing the prophet of the Lord into prison and in extinguishing the lamp 
of Israel which shone on the people of God ? " Then King Zedekiah 
said to him : " Thou hast done well in reminding me to-day of him, O 
Ephti, 6 take some men with thee, and go and take him out of prison." 

1 Or : possessed by evil spirits. 

2 P. : Hanina. See Jer. xxviii. 1-17. 

3 Cf. 1 Kings xxii. 11. 4 See Jer. xxxviii. 6. 

5 P. : Ephtimelech throughout. He is evidently the same personage as the 
one called Ebedmelech (Jer. xxxviii. 7), an Ethiopian eunuch in the king's 
house. The name given in P. seems to be of Coptic origin and emanates 
from a MS. the archetype of which was written in Egypt. 

8 The first half of the name of Ephtimelech, the reading of P. M. does 
not mention any name in this sentence. 


Then Abimelech took with him men, old rags, and strong ropes, 1 
and repaired to the prison in which Jeremiah was lying ; he threw to 
him the old rags, and let down to him the strong ropes and said : 
" Attach these to your armholes so that we may draw you up." He 
did as he was told, and they drew him out of prison and gave him his 

Then the Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah : " O you whom I 
have elected and honoured, arise and go for the second time to 
Zedekiah and say to him, ' Thus says the Lord God of Israel, " How 
long will you irritate my spirit, shed innocent blood, cause pregnant 
women to miscarry, and take the fruit of their wombs and burn it with 
fire before the statue of Baal. The blood of those whom you have 
unjustly killed cried towards the throne of my glory, and the cry of the 
unjustly treated went up to the gates of heaven. Why have you 
trodden in the path of Manasseh and forsaken the ways of David, 
your father ? If you persist before me in these deeds, 1 will bring 
down my wrath and anger on you, and strip you of your glory ; I 
will overthrow your throne and give your kingdom to your enemy 
who will put out your eyes and place them in your hands, and slay 
your two children and place one at your right hand and the other at 
your left ; and put a chain round your neck like a dog. In this way 
you will be deported into Babylon, tied to the chariot of the king 
Nebuchadnezzar, 2 and you will die there while driving the mule that 
pulls the stone of the flour-mill. 3 This great people will also be led 
into captivity with you, and Jerusalem 4 will be destroyed to its 
foundations, because you have dishonoured my name by your worship 
of foreign gods and have broken my covenant which I made with your 
fathers." All these words utter you before the elders 5 of the children 
of Israel." 

1 See Jer. xxxviii. II. P. reads mawdklt and M. kawaniit. 

2 Cf. 2 Kings xxv. 6-7 ; Jer. xxxix. 4-7. 

3 In early times (and occasionally also in the present day) the stone that 
ground the corn in a flour-mill was tied to a chain pulled by a horse or a 

4 Curiously enough the name of Jerusalem is generally written in P. with 
zyodh at the beginning, in the Hebrew fashion, instead of an Alaph, in the 
Arabic and Synac fashion. This also denotes a Coptic origin to the arche- 
type from which P. emanates. 

5 M. : nobles, princes (as in the Bible). 


The prophet Jeremiah then said : " No, my Lord and my God, 
Lord of mercy and creator of the universe ; no, O Lord, do not send 
me to King Zedekiah, because he is a man who hates Thy pious ones, 
and he will wax angry if I mention Thy name before him, and his anger 
will be brought to the highest pitch if I mention the name of Thy saints 
who have been slain and of Thy holy ones who have been stoned. 
He has further sought my destruction, and if I go back to him he will 
throw me in the pool of mire, in the lowest dungeon, and I shall die 
there." The Lord said then to the prophet Jeremiah : " Rise up 
and go to him. It is I who send you in my name, and be not 

Then the prophet Jeremiah rose up and went to King Zedekiah 
and to the people of the children of Israel. He had an audience 
with the king, and he related to him all the words of God. King 
Zedekiah became exceedingly angry, and ordered the prophet Jeremiah 
to be thrown for the second time in the lowest cistern, the cistern of 
mire. When Abimelech heard of the imprisonment of the prophet 
Jeremiah, he went to King Zedekiah and saved him like the first time x 
and set him free. 

Then the word of God came for the third time to the prophet 
Jeremiah saying : " O Jeremiah whom I have elected, arise and go 
to King Zedekiah and utter to him the words of the Lord, God of 
Israel." Then the prophet Jeremiah fell down before the Lord, lifted 
his hands to Him, worshipped before Him and said to Him : " No, 
my Lord, do not send me to King Zedekiah, because if I mention to 
him Thy holy name he will wax angry and kill me." Then the 
Lord ordered the prophet Jeremiah to write down in a book all 
that was revealed to him and deliver it to his disciple Baruch," to bring 
to King Zedekiah. The prophet Jeremiah did what God ordered him 
to do, and he wrote a letter and sent it to King Zedekiah with his 
disciple Baruch and ordered him to read it before him and before the 
company of the children of Israel. And Baruch went to the palace 

1 P. adds : " and the second rime." M. omits it. 

2 P. writes the name as Yaruth throughout with a ya (instead of a ba) 
at the beginning. This could have happened only in case the Paris MS. 
which is now written in Garshuni was emanating from an original which was 
written in Arabic characters, because it is in Arabic characters only that the 
letters ba and ya have graphically the same form and are only distinguished 
by a small dot which is generally omitted in old MSS. 


of the king whom he saw sitting with his boon-companions. He 
stood before him with the letter in his hand, and uttered the words of 
God. When the king heard the speech of the disciple Baruch he 
became exceedingly angry, took the letter from him, and burned it 
with fire that he made there before all the children of Israel. He also 
ordered at once Baruch, the disciple of the prophet Jeremiah, to be 
flogged and he was cruelly lashed 1 and asked him where (his 
master) lived. The disciple told the king his master's whereabouts, 
and the king ordered that he should be brought before him bound with 
chains and fetters. 

The servants went out to look for him and they found him in a 
sepulchral crypt braiding fresh twigs and leaves. 2 They seized him 
forthwith and did with him what the king had ordered them to do, 
and they presented him to King Zedekiah. 3 When he stood before 
the king, Satan filled the latter's heart and he began to gnash his teeth 
at him and said to him : " I will shed your blood and pour it in the 
plate from which I eat, I will deliver your flesh to the birds of heaven 
and your bones to the carnivores of the earth, for the written words 
that your disciple uttered before me. What is between me and you, 
O Jeremiah, that you should prophesy falsely 4 against me and against 
my kingdom and say, ' Your kingdom shall be taken from you and 
your throne shall be overthrown, and the people shall be deported 
and Jerusalem shall be destroyed to its foundations ? ' I swear to you 
by the great gods Baal and Zeus that I shall torment you with a 
grievous torment, and not finish you off quickly, but shall cast you into 
the lowest pit of the prison, and see whether your words will apply to 
me truly or not." 

The king ordered him to be tied hands and feet with iron and 
thrown into the pit which he had named ; he further ordered that 
no bread and water should be given to him, in order that he may die 
of hunger and thirst. The prophet Jeremiah turned then towards the 
king and said to him before the people of the children of Israel : 
" May God judge between thee and me, O King Zedekiah ; I have 
prophesied for many years on behalf of the Lord, and no lie has ever 
come out of my mouth, and thou art throwing me for the third rime 

3 . omits. - For basket making. 

3 M. omits the last two sentences. 4 M. omits the adverb. 

Read/mz (or fay a in P. 


in prison, in the lowest pit, wishing me to die there. Thou hast 
confidence in the false prophets who prophesy to thee falsely. This 
being the case listen to the words of God which are in my mouth : * 

" Thou hast angered me with thy iniquitous deeds, 2 and I shall 
turn my face away from thee and from the people of the children of 
Israel. I shall kindle my wrath and anger against this land, and the 
king of the Chaldeans shall come with men as numerous as locusts, 
and shall dismantle to its foundations the rampart 3 of the city of 
Jerusalem and fix his throne in its midst. And thou, O King 
Zedekiah, when thou seest these things with thy eyes, pangs of travail 
will take possession of thee like a woman who 4 gives birth to a child. 
Thou shalt extend on thy bed and cover thy face with thy mantle 
as with a shroud, and thy servants will carry thee on their necks like 
a corpse and run with thee towards the Jordan in order that they may 
cross it and save thee. God then will move the hearts of the servants 
of Nebuchadnezzar, who will seek thee in thy bed-chamber and not 
find thee, and they will follow thee and overtake thee on the river 
Karmlis 5 ; they will throw thee on the ground, uncover thy face, and 
strip thee of thy mantle, and present thee to Nebuchadnezzar, the 
king of the Chaldeans, and thou shalt see his eyes with thy eyes, and 
thy mouth shall speak with his mouth. He will put a chain round 
thy neck like a dog, bring thy two sons to thy presence, and slay one 
at thy right hand and the other at thy left. He will put out thy eyes 
and place them in thy hands, and carry thee with him to the countries 
of Babylon, tied to his chariot, with mud, mire 6 and ashes on thy 
head. Thou shalt eat bread, weeping and sighing, and shalt drink 
water with grief and hardship, and shalt die there while driving the 
mule that pulls the stone of the flour-mill." 

When Jeremiah finished these words he was seized by the servants 
to do with him what King Zedekiah had ordered. And the prophet 

a for fay a in P. 

Change the first ya into a rot. The correct form should have been 
ar-radlyah. M. has the incorrect al-ayadi. 

3 Read sur in M. 4 Read al-lati. 

5 Written as " Karlis " in M. The word seems to be of Greek origin. 
It is somewhat strange that the Jordan should be referred to in the document 
by this uncommon word. Zedekiah was of course overtaken in the plain o 

6 P. wrongly " mud." 


Jeremiah said to the servants of Zedekiah : " Have a little patience 
with me until I finish the words of God which are in my mouth." 
And King Zedekiah said : " Leave him until he utters all that he 
has to say." While the prophet Jeremiah was left alone he turned 
to all the people standing before the king and said : " Listen to what 
the Lord Omnipotent says : ' I protected your fathers l when I took 
them out of the land of Egypt, but because you have forgotten the 
great goodness I did to your fathers in the desert, you shall be requited 
with a much greater evil. When I took your fathers out of the land 
of Egypt, and they dwelt forty years in the desert, their dresses did 
not wear out, their shoes were not torn up, and the hair of their heads 
did not grow. You, however, shall be deported and shall be in the 
way to your destination " only a month and your dresses shall wear 
out and become like old skins ; they shall tear up, and you shall sew 
them with cords made of palm-tree fibres, of alfa, and palm-tree 
leaves. The hair of your heads shall come down to your shoulders 
like the hair of women, and instead of the column of light which shone 
upon your fathers 3 day and night and went before them in their way, 
you shall be deported and walk in the heat of the sun and the cold of 
the night, and you shall experience the most intense heat of the 
summer and severe cold of the winter. I shall order the moon and 
the stars which * shine at night not to shed their light on you, in order 
that you may be in darkness. You shall crawl on your hands in 
groping your way, and shall stumble on one another with vehemence, 
intense pains, and bitter weeping. 

' You shall hunger after bread, and thirst after water, and you 
shall sigh and say, ' Thou art just, O Lord, and Thou hast done 
everything with wisdom ; Thou hast acted towards us according to 
our merits.' 5 Instead of the manna and the quails which God sent to 
your fathers, and the sweet water which He caused to jet forth for 
them from the rock, there shall descend on you 6 from heaven, earth, 
dust, and a fiery wind that will cling to your bodies and inflict on 
them sores, wounds, and blisters that do not heal. I shall render 
your drinking water brackish and bitter in your mouths, in order to 

1 Read abaakum, 

Read taskunun in P., and put the particle lam before the verb. 
3 Read abaikum in P. * Read -#/-/// tudiu. 

5 Lit as we acted. 6 Read 'tUatkxm'm P. 



desiccate your bodies and dry up your bones. Instead of the light of 
the sun that (God) caused to shine on your fathers, you shall have 
lice and vermin to consume your bodies. You shall remain seventy 
years in the captivity and servitude of the Chaldeans until the Lord 
turns His wrath away from you." 

When the prophet Jeremiah finished all these words to King 
Zedekiah and to the elders and princes of the people who were 
surrounding him, they cried one and all, saying, ' Long live thou King 
Zedekiah.' The king then ordered the prophet to be cast into the 
dungeon, in the place where the cistern of mire was found. The 
description of this dungeon is that people walked three hours under- 
ground in the dark until they reached it ; its sides were as thin as a 
glass bowl ; no one was able to stand in that place, except on the 
joint of his knees ; it was full of mire and pitch which reached the 
armpits 1 of a man. And the prophet Jeremiah remained in that 
place for several days in great pains. 

When Abimelech, the servant 2 of the king heard the story of the 
prophet Jeremiah, he visited him every day, by giving a denarius to 
the gaoler in order to let him enter, and gave the prophet Jeremiah 
bread and water, and then returned to his master. 3 He did this for 
twenty-one days, after which he went to King Zedekiah and said to 
him : "I felt the necessity of presenting myself before you for the 
sake of the prophet Jeremiah. Was it not sufficient for you, 4 O king, 
to imprison the prophet of God a first time and a second time, that you 
should have thrown him a third time into prison ? You have extinguished 
the lamp of the children of Israel, which was shedding light on the 
people of God ; and he did not speak before thee except what God 
had revealed to him." Then the king said to him, " O Abimelech, 
you have done well in reminding me of him to-day ; rise up, go and 
take men with thee and draw him out of the dungeon, and place him 
in a house until we ascertain if his words are true or not, and test the 
truth of his sayings." ; 

1 M. : the hands. 2 P. : the boon-companion. 

8 P. And parts of the fruits of which his master had eaten. 

4 The verb akna'a " to persuade " is used here for kafa "to be 
sufficient," and this induces us to suppose that the original from which the 
Arabic version is derived was Greek. The particle of the interrogative alam 
is missing in P. but is found in M. 

5 The above sentences are often differently worded in the MSS. 


Abimelech went then immediately and took with him two 1 
servants from the palace of the king, and drew up the prophet 
Jeremiah from the dungeon, after he had spent there twenty-one days, 
and placed him in a house of peace and rest. Then the prophet 
Jeremiah said to Abimelech : 2 " Blessed be thou, O my child 
Abimelech, because thou hadst pity on me in the time of my trials. 
Thus says the Lord Omnipotent, ' He who does good to those in 
trouble, or in prison, and to the poor, God will remember him with 
His grace, and with His help and assistance. 3 Thou shall not see 
the destruction of Jerusalem, O my child, and thou shall not go to the 
hardship of the captivity ; thou shall not die, bul shall live until ihe 
Lord lurns away His wrath. The sun shall nurture ihee and ihe 
firmamenl shall rear ihee, and ihe earth on which ihou shall sleep 
shall give ihee rest, and ihe slone shall prolecl ihee from ihe cold of 
ihe winler and ihe heal of ihe summer, and ihy soul shall be in joy 
and pleasure for seventy years until ihou seest Jerusalem in its glory 
and rebuilt as it was before." 

After this King Zedekiah returned to sin before ihe Lord, and 
he enlered ihe house of ihe Lord and look oul ihe Iwo columns of 
marble which gave lighl in il wilhoul a lamp and placed ihem in ihe 
temple 4 before the stalues of Baal and Zeus, and he carried ihe 
precious and holy plales lo ihe place where he used lo sil and drink 
wilh his concubines. He pulled down ihe allar on which sacrifices 
were offered, and he made il a lable lo himself in ihe lemple 6 which 
belongs lo Baal and Zeus. He broughl oul also the ark of the 
covenanl, and oul of ihe gold of ihe candle-stick 7 he made a crown 
which he placed on ihe head of ihe idol. He ordered lhal oxen 
should be offered lo Baal ihe idol, and summoned ihe pregnanl 
women in travail and commanded lhal iheir offspring should be laken 
oul of iheir wombs and sacrificed on the fire to Baal and Zeus. He 
also ordered lhal all children from Iwo years old and under s should 

1 P. omits " two." 

Curiously enough P. also has here " Abimelech." 
M. omits the last sentence. 

4 M. says : " he brought them to the house in which were the idols Baal 
and Zeus." 

5 Read the word with a sad instead of a sin in P. 

6 Sic. P., but M. again as above. 

7 P. manzarah and M. better mariarah. 8 See Matt ii. 16. 


likewise be sacrificed and their blood taken and offered to Baal and 
Zeus. 1 

In that very day the earth shook and its (four) points quaked, 
and the Lord thundered from heaven and his wrath spread over all 
the earth, and He ordered the angel of anger to come down to it 
with fury, and had it not been for the intervention of the angels and 
the holy ones who knelt down before the Lord and besought Him to 
turn away His wrath from His people, all would have perished. 
The Lord perceived the odour of their sighing and their holy lamenta- 
tions, 2 had mercy upon the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and 
removed His wrath and did not destroy them. 3 

And the word of God came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 
' Jeremiah, Jeremiah,' and he answered, ' Here I am, O Lord.' 
And the Lord said to him : "I have sworn that I shall not remove 
my wrath, and I say to you that I shall not do anything before I have 
told it to you. Were it not for your prayers that 4 have surrounded 
Jerusalem none of its inhabitants would have been alive, and I would 
have destroyed it to its foundations, because my eyes are covered with 
tears over the innocent blood of the children that has been shed ; 
they cry and say, ' Avenge our blood.' 5 Lo, concerning this people 
among whom you live examine the three following punishments : do 
you wish me to order Satanael, 6 the angel of wrath, to destroy them 
and exterminate them from their young ones to their adults, with their 
old men and young men ? Or do you wish me to inflict famine on 
them and to command heaven which is above them to become brass 
and the earth which is below them to become iron, so that no dew 
may fall from heaven and no fruits should come from the earth ; and 
I shall destroy all the trees and annihilate their storehouses that are 
full so that they may eat one another and fall in the streets of the city 

1 M. omits Zeus. " Read tasa'udat in P. 

3 M. omits all the last sentence. 4 Read al-lati. 

5 The meaning of the sentence is literally in P. as follows : " He who is 
a sinner let us sin " (sic). It is altogether missing in M. and P. adds further : 
" And who went down to hell that we may know that there is in it grievous 

8 About Satanael see the Book of the Secrets of Enoch in Charles' 
Apocrypha and Pseud, ii. 439 and passim, and the Ethiopic Le livre des 
Mysteres in Pat. Or. i. 73. See also Severus ibn al-mukaffa', Refutation 
in Pat. Or. iii. 132-133. 


from hunger and thirst ? Or do you wish me to allow Nebuchadnez- 
zar who is King of Babylon to subdue them and lord it over them for 
seventy years, and they be slaves of the Chaldeans to the point of 
destruction, in order that they may know that I am the God who 
hold their spirits in my hands ? " 

When the prophet Jeremiah heard these words from the Lord, 
he fell down in worship on his face before Him and wept and said : 
" O God of all mercy ; Thou art the God of gods and Creator of 
the universe. Look, O Lord, upon the children of Thy servants 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to whom Thou sworest that their seed 
shall be like the stars of heaven ; : no, O Lord, do not destroy them 
one and all, and let not the angel Satanael come down on them 
because he will not leave a single one of them. Where is' 2 the 
oath that Thou sworest to our father Abraham, Thy beloved, in 
saying to Him, ' Thy seed shall not cease under heaven,' and if Thou 
sendest against them famine and dearth, and Thou restrainest heaven 
from sending down its dew, and the earth from yielding its fruit, the 
children of Thy servants will perish from the surface of the earth, 
and where shall be the covenant that Thou gavest to Thy servant 
Israel in saying to him, ' Thy children shall remain for ever and ever/ 
And do not be angry, O Lord, because of the ill-treatment that I 
receive at the hands of Thy servants : 3 Thy people who sinned 
against Thee. If Thou orderest for them, O Lord, a deportation by 
Nebuchadnezzar and a captivity to Babylon, verily a father chastises 
his sons and a master his servants." 

Then the Lord summoned forthwith the angel Michael, the head 
of the angels, and said to him : " Arise and go to Nebuchadnezzar, 
long of Babylon and say to him : * Go to Judea, to the city of 
Jerusalem, and spread thy hand and the hand of the Chaldeans who 
are with thee over its land, and bring into captivity all the inhabitants 
of the land of Israel, lord it over them, and take them to the land of 
the Chaldeans, and enslave them there for seventy years. Their 
adults shall do brickwork and clay work, and their old men shall hew 
wood and draw water, and their women shall spin and weave 

1 Gen. xxii. 1 7. 

- A word is missing at the beginning of the sentence in P. 
3 Lit. " because of the affair that I have with Thy servants." Further, 
P. exhibits : " Do not be angry with me." 


wool, and they shall show thee their work every day, and thou shall 
make accounts with them as if they were slaves. Act, however, with 
mercy and justice towards them, because (in the end) I shall have pity 
upon them.' " 

Michael worshipped then the Lord immediately and went in 
haste to Babylon, which he reached in that very night. He nudged 
Nebuchadnezzar the king in the right side and said to him : " O 
Nebuchadnezzar, arise quickly so that I may speak with you." 
When Nebuchadnezzar awoke from his sleep and saw the angel of 
God with shining eyes like the star of the morning, with a spear in his 
hand, with loins girded with a sword, with feet covered with hot 
polished 1 brass, and with a terrifying speech, he said to him : " Woe 
is me, O my master, because in no time have I seen the like of you. 
Are you not one of the gods of Babylon ? 2 Or perchance are you 
the God who spread heaven and established the earth, and fashioned 
every thing ? " And the angel answered him saying : " I am not 
God, but His servant. I am one of the seven angels 3 who stand 
before the throne of the Lord God, and here is what the Lord God 
says, 'Arise with all your might and with the Chaldeans, and 
spread your hand over all the land of Judea and deport its inhabitants 
and bring them to the land of Babylon. And they shall be slaves to 
you : their adults shall work at clay and bricks, and their old men 
shall hew wood and draw water, and their women shall spin and 
weave wool, and they shall bring in their work every day like slaves, 
and you shall settle their accounts, but show mercy towards them. I 
have delivered them to you for punishment, and after that I shall have 
pity on them for ever and ever.' " 

And Nebuchadnezzar said to the angel Michael : " Woe is me, 
O my master, the Lord has perchance waxed angry with me because 
of the great number of my sins, and He wishes me to go to foreign 
lands in order to destroy my life in them ; do destroy me with your 
hand ; this would be more advantageous for me than that I and all 
who are with me should die in a foreign land. Who is the king of 
Babylon, and who is Nebuchadnezzar before the people of God the 

1 P. : hot. Read maskul in M. 2 M. : which god are you ? 
8 See about the seven angels the Book of Enoch in Charles' Apocrypha 
and Pseud, ii. 201. 

4 M. omits " for erer." 


Most High ? And who am I that I should go to Jerusalem and 
fight the people of God ? Is it not the people whom Pharaoh fought, 
and God drowned him in the abysses, and water covered him ? Is 
it not the people whom the Amorites l fought, and they all perished ? 
In this way five nations were destroyed before them." Who am I 
then, O Lord, that I should fight a just people and conquer it, a 
people who when they go to war do not take with them any material 
of war, but, if they stretch out their hands, angels help them from 
heaven and fight on their behalf ? 3 

And the angel Michael said to Nebuchadnezzar : " Every thing 
you said is true. Every people 4 who keep the commandments of 
God, no one 5 is able to overcome them ; but if they forsake His 
commandments and His law, He delivers them into the hands of their 
enemies, and they perish at their hands. Now, this people have 
sinned, prevaricated, and increased their iniquity ; " arise thou, then, and 
destroy them that they may know that God is the only one that lasts 
for ever and ever." When the angel Michael finished his words to 
Nebuchadnezzar, he stretched his hand, anointed him, and fortified 
him against the (Jewish) people, and went up to heaven. 

After the angel Michael had gone, Nebuchadnezzar arose and 
went to his wife Hilkiah 7 whom he awakened from her sleep. He 
narrated to her all that the angel had told him. When she heard 
those words from him she was greatly perplexed 8 and fell down 9 
weeping, and said to Nebuchadnezzar : " Woe is me, my lord, and 
my brother ; take me with thee wherever llj thou goest, 11 because I 
shall not see thee another time. Who is the king who fought this 
people and was saved ? Dost thou not know that this is the people 
of God, and that everything that they ask from God they obtain it 
forthwith ?" 12 And Nebuchadnezzar said to her : " It is their God 

I Read Amoraniun. 2 M. omits all this sentence. 

3 It is surprising how quickly Nebuchadnezzar became versed in the 
Jewish history and in the knowledge of the true God. 

4 Read sha l bin in P. 5 Read ahadun in P. 

6 The last two verbs are not found in M. 

7 In M. Helkenah. s Read idtarabat in P. 
9 P. wrongly " went out." 10 P. " when." 

II Read tadhhab in P. 

12 The knowledge of the Queen Helkenah or Hilkiah concerning the 
Jewish people is as accurate and perplexing as that of her husband ! 


that has delivered them up to me." And she said to him : " O my 
lord, listen attentively to what I am going to say to thee : if thou goest 
to fight them, take with thee a ram, and when thou art near the city of 
Judea alight from thy chariot, lay the sceptre of gold l that is in thy 
hand on the head of the ram and let it go ; 2 if it take the direction of 
Judea, 3 follow it, and know that the Lord has delivered them up to thee ; 
but if the ram does not proceed forward to Judea but turns its face 4 
towards Babylon, return thou with it and fight not the people of God ; 
if you are like the number of the sand of the sea not a single soul will 
return alive with thee." 

When the wife said these words to the king, he accepted them 
from her, and he rose forthwith and summoned his generals Cyrus and 
Isarus, 5 and narrated to them all that God had promised him through 
His angel. And they said to the king : " May you live for ever ! 
It is their God that is angry with them. This people has sinned ; 
send therefore at once a messenger to Zedekiah, king of Jerusalem, to 
convey to him words of conciliation, and despatch gifts with him, and 
make inquiries whether his people have worshipped foreign gods and 
forsaken the words of the Lord, and whether they have refused (to 
listen to) the prophets who were with them and who interceded with 
the Lord on their behalf. If not, do not proceed to their land, as He 
has destroyed others who fought them, and fire will come down on us 
from heaven and consume us along with our land." ( 

These words pleased King Nebuchadnezzar, who sent forthwith 
a messenger ' from his generals, accompanied by a thousand horse- 
men, and he wrote with him a letter to King Zedekiah, and despatched 
gifts to him : a great quantity of carmine, gold, and frankincense. 8 
The general departed then for Jerusalem with his party. When he 
reached it, King Zedekiah was informed that the messenger of 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had arrived. He at once went out 
to meet him, surrounded by the women of the children of Israel 
dancing before their king. Then King Zedekiah dismounted and 
received the general of the king (of Babylon) and accepted the gifts 

1 P. omits " of gold." 2 M. omits " let it go." 

3 P. " the holy city." 4 Read biwajhihi in P. 

5 M. Sharus. 6 A leaf is here missing in M. 

7 Read rasulan. 

8 Compare the two last named gifts with Matt. ii. 11. 


from him. He took the gold and of it he made a crown which he 
placed on the head of the idol ; as to the frankincense he burnt it 
before Baal and Zeus. He was also pleased with the letter of the 
King Nebuchadnezzar, and he wrote to him to Babylon an answer to 
his letter in the following terms : 

" Zedekiah, King of Judea, writes to Nebuchadnezzar, King 
of Babylon, thus : ' Peace be with you. This peace exists 
between you and me. My gods are your gods, and your gods 
are my gods.' " 

He sealed the letter, handed it to the general, and despatched 
with him gems and precious stones. When the priests of Baal, the 
idol, heard 1 (this) they said to the king : " Where is Jeremiah who 
said, 'The king of Babylon shall come and take possession of this 

A few days later the general reached Babylon with the thousand 
horsemen who were with him, and handed to Nebuchadnezzar the 
answer to his letter. When the king understood its meaning perfectly 
he roared like a lion and neighed like the horse which pulls the wheel, 
and said to Cyrus and his retinue : " Prepare at once your horses, the 
troops and the soldiers." 

And Nebuchadnezzar went forth in those days and with him 
were all the Chaldeans to the number of six hundred thousand 
horsemen and six hundred thousand chariots, and on each chariot 
were sixteen horsemen, in all six thousand thousand thousand, and 
six hundred thousand, 1 with spears, weapons, and leather shields, 
and they marched on the right hand of the king and on his left, 
until they reached the partition of the roads between Babylon and 
Jerusalem. There Nebuchadnezzar alighted from his chariot, stripped 
himself of the royal robe, removed the crown from his head, brought 
the sceptre of his kingdom, and put it on the head of the ram. The 
ram took immediately the road of Judea, and the direction of Jerusalem. 
The king then said to all who were with him : " I am very much 
surprised, 3 but the Lord God has delivered the (Jewish) people to 
me." Then the king ordered that his ram 4 should be brought to him 

1 Read sami'a. 

' There is surely much exaggeration in all these numbers, if we under- 
stand the computation given here aright. 

3 Read muta'ajjibun. 4 Read kabshahu. 


and placed l on the sceptre of his kingdom pitched in the ground ; and 
then he placed his robe at his right hand, and removed his crown and 
laid it under his feet, and he turned his face towards the direction of 
the east, 2 and said : " O God whom I do not know, God of the pious 
Hebrews, and of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, O God whose name 
I am not worthy to pronounce with my mouth that has sinned and my 
lips 8 that have deceived. 4 I am afraid that thou shouldest not deliver 
the (Jewish) people to me because I am a sinner. My sins and those 
of my people have perchance increased before Thee." Then he 
proceeded : 5 " O God of Israel and God of heavens and earth, whose 
name has reached me, the unworthy servant, 6 God who has power 
over heavens and earth, I beseech thee, O Lord, to tell me whether 
that man who came to my house and nudged me is Thy angel, and 
whether it is Thy will that I should fight this people. I implore Thee 
to give a sign to this effect to me and to these men who are standing 
before Thee, 7 because I am Thy servant, Nebuchadnezzar, King of 
Babylon. Thou hast, O Lord, hardened in the times of yore the 
heart of Pharaoh, until the sea submerged him and those who were 
with him. If I have sinned before Thee, and Thou wishest my 
destruction, destroy me while I am still in the borders of my own land 
with all those who are with me ; but, O Lord, if Thou truly deliverest 

(the Jewish people) to me, let the shade of my sceptre return towards 


And at that instant the sun moved and the shade of the sceptre of 
Nebuchadnezzar turned towards his head. (The king) then left the 
sceptre at his left side and the liver of the goat 8 at his right side and 
said : " O Lord fortify my heart." And the Lord gave him courage 

1 Read yansubuhu. 

2 Why the east ? Can this sentence be attributed to a Christian ? The 
Christians, as we all know, turned their face in prayer towards the east. 

3 Readfiya and shafataiya. 

4 M. " for my lips are dirty." Here ends the lacuna in M. 

5 P. "And he turned his face towards the east, and he prayed and 

8 M. omits. 

7 M. "In this ram that is standing before Thee." There are many 
rerbal discrepancies in all this paragraph between the text of the two MSS 

8 Sic both MSS. P. has erroneously kibarior kabid " liver." All this 
is somewhat obscure. 


and bravery, 1 and he ascertained that it was the God of the Jewish 
people who had delivered them to him. 

And God who is God of mercy remembered Abimelech and his 
kindness towards the prophet Jeremiah in the days in which King 
Zedekiah had imprisoned him in the dungeon. And the Lord did 
not wish ~ him to be in the captivity of Babylon and in the servitude of 
Nebuchadnezzar. And the servant Abimelech according to his 
daily habit went to the garden of his master, who was the boon- 
companion 3 of Zedekiah, in order to bring him fruits. He took a 
basket which he filled with grapes, figs, and other fruits from the 
garden of his master, and covered them with green foliage, and carried 
them in order to bring them to the house of his master. While he was 
still on the way God remembered the words which He spoke to the 
prophet Jeremiah, that he " shall not see the destruction of Jerusalem, 
nor be under the yoke * of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon." 
While he was walking and looking towards heaven, and while the 
distance (to his destination) was about an hour's (walk), he saw a 
cave in which there was shade and much refreshing humidity, and he 
said to himself : " I have gone out before my time, and have not taken 
to-day bread to the prophet, the man of God, my father Jeremiah ; 
so I shall sit here awhile and sleep for an hour in this refreshing 
shade." He therefore repaired towards the shade and slept ; and he 
placed the basket near his head, and it was full of grapes, figs, peaches, 
and pears, covered with foliage. The earth gave him rest, and the 
rock of the cave expanded over him and covered him like the roof of 
a house ; the dew fortified him and the sun nurtured him, and he did 
not hunger nor thirst, and he was not affected by the cold of the winter 
nor the heat of the summer till the time when Jerusalem was destroyed 
and then rebuilt afresh ; (all this happened to him) by the great 
power of God, which protected him. 

After this King Nebuhcadnezzar reached Judea, with all his 
Chaldean generals, and he subjugated all Judea and all the towns round 
Jerusalem. His troops spread over the land of Israel like locusts, and 

1 Here begins a short lacuna in M. - Read yurid in P. 

3 It is curious that P. should make of Ebedmelech the servant of a boon- 
companion of Zedekiah, instead of Zedekiah himself. Even the name of 
this boon- companion is given below. 

4 See Jer. xxxix. 16-18. 


they clapped with their hands and danced with their feet and said : 
" Let us go and fight the Hebrews, plunder their possessions and 
destory them, because all other people are now in arms against the 
people of Israel whom nobody has dared approach and subdue down 
to this day. Their rod was over all the nations by the power of God, 
their God who fights for them." 

All the young men of the children of Israel fell before Nebuchad- 
nezzar, and all their power was weakened, and the people of Israel 
became before him like pregnant women at the time of their travail. 
He ordered them to gather together before him bound in fetters of 
iron. 1 He who was on the roof did not come down except with 
bonds, and he who was in the sown field did not enter the city except 
with fetters, and each one of them was seized in the spot where he 
was, and none was left who did not come to King Nebuchadnezzar 
who had fixed his throne at the gate of Jerusalem, the ramparts of 
which he had ordered to be demolished instantly. 2 

When King Zedekiah heard this he was greatly agitated and the 
pangs of travail overtook him like a woman in labour. He stretched 
on his bed and spread his mantle over him and covered his face with 
a kerchief, like a shrouded dead man. His servants took him with 
the intention of crossing the Jordan with him and fleeing to save him. 
And King Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that King Zedekiah be 
brought before him, and Cyrus, his general, went to the residence of 
Zedekiah, and saw it ornamented with silk, gold, and silver, and his 
sleeping chamber perfumed with incense and fine aloes-wood, 3 and 
in it was the idol which he used to worship. And God put in the 
hearts of the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar to pursue the servants 
of King Zedekiah, and they overtook them with the bed-litter 
on their shoulders in the valley 4 of the sea of Karmlis. 5 They threw 

1 Here ends the second short lacuna in M. 

2 There are some verbal discrepancies in the above sentences in the texts 
of the two MSS. 

3 M. omits " fine aloes- wood." 

4 So we translate sakir of P. which is obscure. M. has safir " falling 
leaves " which is still more obscure. This variant could not have arisen 
except from a text written in Arabic in which the letters fa and kaf are 
only distinguished by an extraneous dot. 

5 This Karmlis in P. and Karlis in M. is given above (p. 1 56) as a 
river and not as a sea or a lake. What is referred to here may possibly be 
the Dead Sea or the Lake of Tiberias. 


him from their shoulders, and took the mantle that was over him, and 
presented him to Cyrus the first general : of the King Nebuchadnezzar. 
The latter summoned the Chaldeans and ordered that Zedekiah's eyes 
be put out and placed in his hands, and that his two children be 
killed and placed one at his right side and the other at his left, and 
that a collar be tied round his neck in order that he may be led like a 
dog. They presented him in this state to King Nebuchadnezzar, who 
commanded that he should be attached to the tail of his horse as far 
as Babylon, and that there he should drive the mule that pulls the 
stone of the flour-mill, and be given for food a small quantity only of 
bread and water. The King Nebuchadnezzar ordered also that all 
the elders of the children of Israel should be bound " and that their necks 
should be tied to their feet until the bones of their necks were broken, 
and that the pregnant women should have stones placed on their 
wombs until they aborted. 

The heart of Nebuchadnezzar was hardened against them like the 
horses which neigh under the wheels, and he said to the Hebrews : 
" Where is Jeremiah, the prophet of God, that I may ask him whether 
I should return to my country and to my land, and inquire of him 
concerning the ark of the Lord, in which are the tables written with 
the finger of the Lord, and which, I have been told, proceeds before 
you." And the congregation of the children of Israel cried with 
weeping and said : " Where can we find the blessed prophet ? 3 The 
prophet Jeremiah has been imprisoned by King Zedekiah, who ordered 
that no bread and no water should be given to him until he dies." 

While the Hebrews 4 were saying this, lo ! a spirit carried 
Jeremiah and placed him before King Nebuchadnezzar, and he in- 
formed him that the ark was no more because it was on the mountains 
of Jericho and had disappeared owing to the great quantity of dust 
that was heaped on it through the effect of the winds. 6 As to the 
tabernacle of the ark Zedekiah placed it under the idol of Baal. 
Then the elders of the children of Israel cried and said : " Live, O 
king, for ever and ever, and allow us to speak before you." And 

1 In Arabic the Grasco-Roman batarikat, 
~ M. adds " by their necks." 

P. "blesses God whose sons have been imprisoned." 
4 Read 'ibraniyun. 5 P. : he could not find. 

6 P. only : " And dust was heaped on it by the winds." 


Nebuchadnezzar said to them : " Speak ; l it is your God who has 
humbled and dejected you ; who is there to save you ? " And they 
said to him : " This prophet whom you have summoned is young, do 
not listen, therefore, to his words, and be not deceived by his personality, 
as there is nothing to distinguish him from the other men of his own 
age ; here there is a congregation of the children of Israel standing 
before you : hand to them staves of olive-trees ; he whose staff comes 
into leaf in his hand is the true prophet." 

The king agreed, and summoned before him all the young men 
of the children of Israel, and their number 2 was two hundred and 
twenty thousand, and he handed to them staves of olive-trees. In 
that very moment the angel carried Jeremiah and presented him to 
King Nebuchadnezzar, while the staff which was in his hand had 
come into leaf. When the king saw this, he was greatly astonished 
and rose from his throne and bowed down to the ground before the 
prophet Jeremiah and said to him : "Thou art the true prophet of 
God ; go, therefore, and ask God, if it is He who has sent me to this 
land ; if not, I shall decamp away from you." And the prophet 
Jeremiah said to him : " Loosen the fetters of these bound men and 
give them a little rest from their pain until I go and ask the Lord." 
And King Nebuchadnezzar loosened their bonds, and the prophet 
Jeremiah went to the temple of the Lord, and saw it sprinkled with 
the blood of the young children, and he wept bitterly and said : O 
God, King of all kings, and Lord of all lords, 3 I beseech Thee and 
implore Thee to-day to look from the height of heavens and show 
mercy towards Thy people who are under the yoke of Nebuchadnez- 
zar, and deliver them from the hands of their enemies and their 
haters. O God of mercy and compassion have pity." And he 
bowed down on his face to the ground in adoration, interceding in 
favour of the people. And a voice came to him from the Lord, 
saying : " O Jeremiah whom I have elected, thou hast interceded 
sufficiently for this iniquitous nation and this harsh and insensible 
people. 4 Dost thou not know that I am a compassionate and merci- 
ful God ? This people numbers more than eight hundred thousand 
thousand souls, 5 and in this sixth hour of the day take a lamp in thy 

1 M. adds " what you wish." 2 Read wa'adadahum in P. 

3 M. omits. 4 M. omits all these adjectives. 

5 M. : " eight hundred thousand and eighty thousand thousand." 


hand and walk in all Jerusalem and see if thou canst find a single man 
among them in whom there is justice ; if thou findest such a one, 1 shall 
cancel the deportation order for all the people, and shall not let them 
go with Nebuchadnezzar ; if thou findest one whose mouth is 
unpolluted by sacrifices to idols, I shall deliver the people from 
servitude and shall not allow them to go into captivity ; l if thou 
findest a single man who loves his brother ~ or his friend, I shall save 
them all ; but if thou findest no one, enter the temple and place the 
burning lamp on the candlestick, and it will not burn out until seventy 
years have elapsed, when the people shall have returned, walking in 
my ways, following my law and not forsaking what is due to me. 3 
When thou hast placed the burning lamp in its place, remove the 
garment of light 4 from thee, and accompany the people into captivity 
where they shall be under the power of Nebuchadnezzar for seventy 

When the prophet Jeremiah heard this from the Lord he went 
out with a burning lamp in his hand. Some men from the people 
said to him : " O father Jeremiah, why dost thou walk with a burning 
lamp in daylight ? " And he answered : "I am in search of a man 
in whom there is justice 6 and I am not able to find any." Some 
others said to him : " O father Jeremiah why dost thou walk with a 
lamp in daylight ? " And he answered : "I am in search of a man 
whose mouth is unpolluted by sacrifices to idols, and I am not able to 
find any." Yet some others said to him : " O Father Jeremiah why 
dost thou walk with a lamp in daylight ? " And he answered : "I 
am in search of a man in whom there is love for his friend or his 
neighbour,' and I am not able to find any." 

And Jeremiah searched among all the people, but he was unable 
to find any man (with the above qualifications). Then he wept 
bitterly, and went into the temple of God and placed the lamp 
burning to itself on the candlestick ; and he entered the place 8 in 
which the holy vestments are kept, and brought out the garment of 

1 M. omits the second part of the sentence. 
- Read akhahu in P. M. omits it. 

M. omits the two last sentences. 4 M. "of prophecy." 

P. " you." 6 Read birrun. 

M. omits " friend " and " neighbour." 

P. "the house of the Lord." 


the High Priest, and he mounted the terrace of the temple and 
addressed the stone which was the head of the corner : 1 "To thee 2 
I say that thou hast been a great honour to all those that surround 
thee and thou hast consolidated them, 3 and thou art like the eternal 
Son of God who shall come into the world : the faithful King, and 
the Lord of the two testaments, the old and the new ; 4 for this 
reason I shall say to thee that this temple shall only be demolished up 
to the place of the corner-stone ; 5 this is the reason why thou hast 
received this honour. Open now thy mouth and receive the garment 
of the High Priest and keep it with thee until the time God wishes 
and brings back Israel, his people." ' 

The stone immediately opened its mouth and received the broidered 
coat of priesthood from the hand of the prophet Jeremiah. Then he 
took the mitre on which was written the name of the Lord Sabaoth, 
the Omnipotent, which Aaron and his sons used to place on their 
heads at the divine service, 7 and lifted it to heaven and said to the 
sun : " To thee, I say, O owner of the great light, and O hidden 8 
chief, I cannot see the like of thee in all the creatures of God, be 
therefore the keeper of this head covering on the sides of which is 
written the name of God the Omnipotent, keep it till the day in 
which God brings back from captivity the children of Israel to this 
place." And he threw the mitre towards it, and a ray of the sun 

1 CI. Matt xxi. 42. 

2 Put in the feminine form all the verbs and adjectives in P. 

3 P. "to all those that sin (sic) against thee and thou hast saved 

4 These sentences are to be ascribed to a Christian hand. 

5 Cf. Luke xxi. 6; Mk. xiii. 2. The corner-stone of the temple 
seems to be referred by the author to Christ. 

6 In the Apocalypse of Baruch (Pat. Syr. ii. 1076-1078) it is the 
Angels who hide the sacred vessels. In the Second Book of the Maccabees, 
however, it is Jeremiah who hides the ark, the tabernacle, and the altar of 
incense. See Charles, Apocrypha aud Pseud. i. 133-134. See also 
Harris, The Rest of the Words of Baruch, p. 23. In the following pages 
our author seems to be more constantly under the influence of the Last 
Words of Baruch, and there is no necessity to refer on every occasion to 
Harris's edition which should be consulted by every reader of the present 

7 The Arabic kuddas from Syr. kuddash is generally applied to the 

8 M. : heating or protecting. 


took it up. 1 And Jeremiah hid 2 the rest of the belongings of the 
house of the Lord. 

When Jeremiah finished all this he removed from himself the 
garment of light 3 in the middle of the temple, and put on sackcloth 
and girded himself with a linen girdle on his loins, and worshipped 
the Lord before the sanctuary, and bowed down his head to the 
ground ; then he took the keys of the temple of the Lord and threw 
them upon the door-post and said : " O threshold of the temple of the 
Lord, receive these keys until the Lord brings back the people from 
captivity." And immediately the high door-post received them from 
the hand of the prophet Jeremiah. 4 

After this Jeremiah presented himself to the king of the Chaldeans. 
When the people noticed that Jeremiah was wearing sackcloth, and 
that his head was full of earth, a they all cried with wailing and 
weeping, and threw earth on their heads, because they had ascertained 
that the Lord had not forgiven them. They were aware of the fact 
that when Jeremiah entered the temple and interceded in favour of 
the people, if the Lord had pity on them and had accepted his prayer 
and his intervention on their behalf, he came out to them wearing a 
white garment and his head perfumed with scent down to his beard 
and the opening of his robe. 6 

When Jeremiah finished these things, he said to Nebuchadnezzar : 
" Ride on thy chariot and proceed to Babylon, because the Lord has 
delivered this people to thee for punishment ; ' and no harm shall 
befall thee." J And Nebuchadnezzar arose like a lion and went to 
Babylon, his country. He ordered his generals and the head of his 
army to gather together all the Jews 9 and march them in front of 

1 Here as below (p. 1 89) it is very difficult to ascertain what the author 
had precisely in mind when using the words lailasan, kalansuah, isar, 
mandil, and rida. 

- M. omits the verb. z M. " of prophecy " as above. 

4 The Talmud (Ta'ariith, c. 4, fol. 29) declares that it was the priests 
who threw the keys towards heaven. So also The Rest of tfte Words of 
Baruch (edit. Harris), p. 51. See Harris (ibid.), pp. 18-19. 

5 M. : ashes. 

6 M. adds : " And when he came out wearing sackcloth and ashes on 
his head they knew that God had not pitied them." 

1 M. omits " punishment." s M, omits this sentence. 

- Read al-yahttd in P. 



them. And the prophet Jeremiah walked in front of them weeping, 1 
with bare feet and a bare head. 2 When the king noticed him he said 
to him : " What fault hast thou, O prophet of God ? Come and 
ride with me ; but it is not fitting to ride with the king while thou art 
wearing sackcloth." J And the prophet Jeremiah answered him and 
said : "I have sinned before the Lord more than all the people ; by 
the living Lord, my God, I shall not remove this garment from me 
until the Lord turns away His wrath and puts an end to the captivity 
of His people." Then King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his generals 
to make the prophet Jeremiah ride with them by force. 

The Hebrew people walked to Babylon in great hardship and 
pain, 4 and in less than a month their dresses were spoiled, and became 
like old and worn out skins, and their shoes were torn from their feet, 
and the hair of their heads grew up and came down to their shoulders 
like that of women, and the sun scorched their bodies to the point of 
destruction, and mud and muck mounted their bodies and stuck to 
them, and gave rise to blisters, wounds, and sores in their flesh ; and 
the cold of the moon and of the stars affected them by night until they 
fell down on their faces, and they lost their way in the intensity of 
darkness that overtook them. They wept and fell upon one another, 
and were on the point of dying from hunger and thirst ; they cried 
with a sigh and lifted their eyes towards heaven and said : " What a 
difference between this and the manna and the quails which God gave 
to Moses, and the spring of sweet water that jetted forth from a rock 
in the desert." Instead of this God caused dust to come on them 
from heaven, and changed the sweet water into a brackish and bitter 
water, until they were affected with a mange and scab for which there 
was no remedy. 

The pregnant women aborted 5 from the fatigue of the journey, 
and those who suckled threw their young ones from their shoulders 

1 P. omits " weeping." 

2 It is curious that our author makes Jeremiah go to Babylon instead of 
staying in Palestine. Jeremiah is also made to go to Babylon in 2 Baruch 
in Charles' Apocrypha and Pseud, ii. 485, 499, and in Midr. 'Eser 
Gainyyot (edit. Griinhut, iii. 1 4). 

R These sentences are not in M. in the place assigned to them by P, 
and the two MSS. exhibit here considerable verbal differences. 

4 Read d'ikin and sharrin in P. and dikin only in M. 

5 Read tarahna and put all the other verbs and' pronouns in fern. plur. 


because their breasts dried up from the hunger and thirst that overtook 
them, and could not give suck to their infants, and they cried with 
bitter weeping and great grief and said : " O Lord, Thy judgments 
are just, and everything Thou hast done to us is done with wisdom, 1 
because Thou hast requited us according to our deeds ; we have 
sacrificed our children to the idols, and Thou art punishing us accord- 
ing to our works. Because we have revolted against Thee and 
sinned before Thee, all this calamity has befallen us, and we deserve 
a punishment more severe than this." " 

And Nebuchadnezzar brought them to Babylon, and he entered 
his palace and kissed the faces of his children and his wife. 3 He was 
filled with joy in seeing them, 4 and he narrated to them all that 
happened to them from the day he left them and went out of the 
country of the Chaldeans to f the day he came back to them. Then 
he put on royal garments and sat for the trial of the Hebrews, and 
the arrangement of the business of their work and hire. 6 He counted 
them and discovered that they had diminished by two hundred and 
twenty thousand and fifty souls ; these had perished in the way from 
fatigue, hunger, and thirst, not counting the infants who had died on 
the arms of their mothers. 

King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the adults should do clay- 
work and brickwork, that the old men should hew wood and 
draw water, and that the women should spin and weave wool ; he 
further ordered that they should all show their work every day like 
slaves, and that every day they should be given a little food consisting 
of bread and water. And the Hebrews served 7 in Babylon under 
the yoke of slavery, and King Nebuchadnezzar built through them 
many 8 villages, towers, 9 houses, granaries, and forts on the shores of 
the sea which surrounds Babylon. 10 The Chaldeans used to go every 
day to the river with their harps, and guitars, and used to ask the 
Hebrews, saying : " Show us how you sing to your Lord and your 

This sentence is missing in M. 
" The last sentence is missing in P. 
3 P. omits "wife." * P. " when he saluted them." 

P. " the king did not take a rest but sat." 
6 M. " toil." ? Rea( j k 

8 Read kattiirah. 9 p omits 

10 Which sea? 


God." And the Hebrews used to answer l with weeping and sighing : 
" How can we sing the praise of the Lord in a strange land ? " 
The people of the Lord were greatly subdued and they cried while 
weeping and sobbing, and said : " The Lord has justly inflicted upon 
us this calamity, according to 3 our deeds. 4 Now, O Lord, look 
upon us, with mercy, because our faces have been put to shame before 
us ; Thou our Lord and our God, do not requite us according to the 
iniquity of our deeds, because it is we who 5 have kindled Thy wrath, 
and not listened to Thy prophets in Jerusalem." 

The Hebrews toiled for the king in Babylon, and his servants 6 
drove them about, 7 and greatly tormented them. And Jeremiah the 
prophet prayed night and day in Babylon, and interceded with God 
in favour of the people, when he saw their tribulations and their 
painsi 8 As to Zedekiah he was tied to the chariot of Nebuchad- 
nezzar until he reached Babylon, and there he was appointed to 
drive the horse of the flour-mill for forty years 9 in captivity. He 
was in great tribulation all this time ; then he died in wretchedness 
and bodily exhaustion that he felt more than other people. And 
Nebuchadnezzar showed mercy towards the Hebrews all the time 
of his life. 10 

When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon died, he was succeeded 
by Cyrus the Persian, who greatly tormented the Hebrews with 
hunger and thirst, and reduced the rations of the food which they were 
given in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. He gave to each one of them 
one loaf of bread once in two days, and diminished the quantity of water 
to be given to them. He also increased their labours, and inflicted 
upon them grievous harm, and their number began to dwindle. After 

l Readfaj/akulu al'ibrdnlyun, 2 Ps. cxxxvii. 4. 

3 This l iwad seems to be a translation of the Syriac heldf, 

* This phrase is obscure in M. 5 Read al-ladhln in P. 

6 P. " and the Chaldeans." 

7 The verb sahata used in this sense by P. is colloquial. M. omits it. 

8 The author is consistent with himself in placing in Babylon the prayers 
of Jeremiah, see above, p. 1 74. 

9 This date seems to be improbable. 

10 It is remarkable that Nebuchadnezzar is made in the document to play 
the role of a good monarch acting under the orders of God. This reminds 
one of the Romance of Alexander in which the Macedonian conqueror is 
made in Syriac and Arabic literature to play the role of a pious man guided 
by Divine Providence. 


they had numbered one hundred thousand thousand l and eighty 
thousand thousand, nothing remained of them but eighty thousand 
thousand. 2 

Some Hebrew children, seventy in number, used to learn with 
Chaldean children. 3 Among them was a young boy called Ezra. 
His mother took him to the scribes while he was still very young, not 
distinguishing good from evil. And the spirit of God was upon him. 
And the children of the Hebrews and the children of the Chaldeans 
used to go every day and carry water on their shoulders for their 
teachers. 4 

When they went one day to carry water, the jar of Ezra fell 
down 5 and broke. Then the children of the Chaldeans turned 6 to 
the children of the Hebrews and said to them : " Fie ! O miserable, 
weak, and despicable ones ! " And they clapped their hands and 
said : " O Hebrews, you are weak people in whom there is no 
energy." ' And they laughed at Ezra, who lifted his eyes towards 
heaven, sobbed, wept bitterly, and said: "O my Lord, and God 
Omnipotent, turn towards us and have mercy upon us for the sake of 
Abraham Thy beloved, and Isaac Thy servant, and Israel Thy holy 
one. Do not forget the covenant that Thou hast established with 
Thy servants our fathers, and do not remove from us Thy face and 
Thy mercy. We are hated by all nations, and despised and rejected 
in this nation.' Now, O Lord, look upon us, and show us mercy 
from Thyself. We have sinned before Thee, but Thou art forgiving 
and merciful, O Lord. Thou forgivest sins and Thou desirest not 
the death of sinners." 

When Ezra finished his prayer, he took off his mantle and went 

1 M. " eight hundred thousand thousand." All these numbers are 
surely exaggerated. 

- It is very remarkable that Cyrus who is represented in Jewish literature 
in such a good light and is therein called " the friend of Jahweh " and 
" Jaweh's anointed " should here have such a black character. 

3 P. " under Chaldean masters." 

4 Put the verb in the singular. Lit " scribes." 

5 M. adds " in the sea." All this mention of the sea in Babylon where 
there is no sea seems to suggest that the author was living in a place where 
there was sea. This place is either west of Palestine or preferably Egypt. 
See, however, Philostratus vit. Apol. Tyan., \. i, c. xx. 

" There are many verbal differences in this paragraph between the two 

7 P. adds : " Amidst Thy creation." 8 M. omits the last sentence. 


into the sea, and filled it with water as if it were a jar ; then he placed 
it on his shoulder and walked with his fellow- students, and not a 
single drop fell from it. 1 When he reached the scribes, 2 he began to 
sprinkle the place with water from his mantle ; then he put it on 
immediately, and it was as dry as before. When the teacher saw him, 
he rose up and bowed down to the ground before him and said : 
" Verily I say unto thee, O Ezra, my child, it is thou who shalt 
deliver thy people from captivity." 

And Ezra was growing every day in grace before God, and men, 3 
he and the other children of the Hebrews. A few days later the 
children wished to go out to draw water as was their wont. The 
children of the Chaldeans went out and said to one another : " Let 
us separate ourselves from the children of the Hebrews, and not have 
any intercourse with them, and not eat and drink with them, because 
they do not worship our gods." 4 And they seceded from them, beat 
them, sneered at them and insulted their God.* When Ezra saw 
what had happened, he wept over his companions and implored God to 
help them. 6 Then he struck a rock with his feet, and water sprang 
from it like a sea, and it increased in volume until it reached the feet of 
the Chaldeans as if to drown them. 7 The teacher rose up instantly 
and knelt down before Ezra and kissed his hands and his feet and said 
to him : " What is there between thee and these dogs ? Dost thou 
wish to destroy all the town because of them ? 

Then Ezra had pity on his teacher, when he noticed his weeping, 
and he repaired to the spot where the rock was found and laid his 
foot on it 8 and said : "O earth, open thy mouth and swallow this 
water, because the Lord has said, ' No second flood of water shall 
come unto the earth, 9 but that fire shall come which will consume the 

1 In the Gospel of the Infancy (Cowper's the Apochryphal Gospels, p. 
75, sixth edit.) a similar anecdote is attributed to Christ. See also ibid., pp. 

2 P. "the school." 

3 Cf. Luke ii. 40. P. omits " and men." 

4 This paragraph also is very differently worded in the two MSS. 

5 P. omits the last sentence. 

6 P. omits the last two sentences. 

7 P. omits the last sentence, but adds : " while jetting forth from the stone 
until it became like a flood." 

8 P. omits. 9 Cf. Gen. ix. II. 


earth to its foundations and purify it, 1 in the last day." The earth 
opened then its mouth at once and swallowed all the water. And 
Ezra rose up and took all the children of the Hebrews, and removed 
them from the school " of the Chaldeans. 

After all this King Cyrus summoned the people of the Hebrews 
before him, and said to them : " Bring me all your harps through 
which you praise your God, and play them before me. And they 
said to King Cyrus : " We fear to play them in a strange land, 
because our God does not wish it." And Cyrus said to them : "As 
you praised your God in Jerusalem so do here." And they answered 
him saying : " The sons of Levi whom God has chosen take preced- 
ence of us and play the harps." And King Cyrus summoned the 
tribe of Levi before all the Hebrews and ordered that they should 
begin and sing to the accompaniment of the harps. 3 They came 
before them and played the harp, and while shouting in unison they 
clapped their hands and beat the earth with their feet. Then the 
ground lifted immediately those who were standing on it, and mounted 
upwards, 4 as if to cause the children of Israel to descend upon their 
own land, and their voices were heard that day in Jerusalem. 

The Chaldeans feared a then and became disturbed, and a cloud 
came down from heaven, and overshadowed the temple in Jerusalem. 6 
All those who were in Jerusalem ascertained in that day that the Lord 
had mercy upon the people of Israel, and that He was willing to 
deliver them from captivity. When Cyrus, king of the Chaldeans, 
noticed what had happened through the play on the harps, he feared 
greatly and said to the Hebrews : " Do not move the strings of your 
harps with your hands ' as long as you are in these countries, until you 
go to your own countries and praise your God in the town of 

When the seventy years of the captivity had elapsed, there were 

1 Read : yutahhiruha in P. 

2 M. " and brought them to." 

3 M. " and play the harps." 

4 M. " And immediately the ground upon which they stood shook and 
mounted upwards." 

5 Read : fakhafa. 

6 P. omits " in Jerusalem." 

' M. " Do not take out your harps." 
8 P. adds " as was your wont." 


three young men : Ezra son of Yaratha, 1 and Daniel son of Betariah, 2 
and Ezekiel son of Buzi, 3 to whom God spoke, and who prophesied 
in Babylon. They said to one another : " Let us take a lamb and go 
out to the desert and there offer 4 a sacrifice to the God of Israel, as 
our fathers were wont to do, for the remission of their sins, and God 5 
used to send down to them from heaven a rod of fire and receive their 
sacrifices after they had offered them." Let us go and do the same 
because 7 the grace of God and His mercy have perhaps come near 
us, 8 and the Lord will send His angel to receive our sacrifice from us." 
And they did this. 

Then Ezra took wood of nard, 9 wood of styrax, and wood of 
ebony, 10 in all three varieties of wood, placed a ram on the wood, 
turned his face towards the sunrise, 11 and looked towards Jerusalem, 12 
and prayed to God of Israel, saying : " O Lord God of our pious 
fathers, the One and Eternal God, who heard Abel, the first murdered 
man, 13 and took his revenge from his brother Cain ; who created the 

1 P. Neriah. A confusion with the father of Baruch. Yaratha may 
be a mistake for Seraiah (Ezra vii. 1). The mistake may have arisen 
through Arabic characters which do not differ considerably in the two 
names ; this graphic difference is still slighter with Betariah, the father of 
Daniel, who follows immediately. 

" M. Retubah. I do not know anything about this man. Betariah may 
be a mistake for Seraiah (Ezra vii. 1 ) caused by the very slight difference 
in the letters of the Arabic script of the two names. See the following and 
preceding notes. 

3 P. Baradi. The difference between Buzi and Baradi is very slight 
in Arabic script, and here and elsewhere it shows that the original from 
which the Garshuni MS. of Paris emanates was written in Arabic characters. 
The mistaken reading Baradi could hardly have arisen otherwise. 

4 The verb as l ada seems here to be a translation of the Syriac assek 
used in the sense of " to offer " a sacrifice. 

5 P. " an angel." tf P. adds " to God." 
7 P. omits this sentence. 

"Read minna. minnan of P. seems to be an echo of the Syriac 

9 The MSS. atraphis (arpafyafys). 

10 There is no ebony in Babylon. 

11 Note that the author makes mention here also as above in the case of 
Nebuchadnezzar, of the direction of the East 

12 Jerusalem is not East of Babylon. We might conclude from this 
sentence that the author of the document was writing in a country situated 
West of Palestine. Could this country be Egypt? 

13 Lit. the first martyr. Can this denote a Christian hand ? 


image of Seth beforehand according to His own image, and removed 
from him the power of darkness ; who caused Enoch to ascend to 
heaven with his body on account of the purity of his heart, and 
taught him the secrets of heaven and what is to take place at the end 
of the world ; * who delivered Noah because of his justice, and granted 
to him the power of Adam before his fall and made him the lord of 
everything which is under heaven : I pray Thee and beseech Thee, O 
Lord, O Omnipotent God, to hear my supplication and listen to my 
prayer," and to my tears. Remember the covenant which Thou hast 
made with our father 3 Abraham when Thou saidst to him, ' If thy 
sons keep My covenant, I will destroy their enemies.' 4 Now, O Lord, 
I implore Thee to visit Thy servants, who are ready to die for 5 Thy 
holy name. Listen to us to-day from the height 6 of Thy heaven, 
and receive our sacrifice, smell its odour, and show pity and forgiveness 
to Thy people." 

When Ezra finished his prayer with his brethren who were with 
him, their supplication reached the throne of the Lord, and their words 
penetrated the hearing of the Lord Sabaoth, who sent His angel, in the 
figure of a man, to take up their offerings to the Lord. Michael, the 
head of the angels, came down from heaven, and stood on their altar, 
and burned the wood and the lamb with a rod of fire that he held in 
his hand, and after the fire had consumed everything that was there, he 
ascended to heaven. He stood up in the air, 7 looked at 8 the three 
young men, and blessed them with the heavenly blessing, and then 
heaven opened and received him. 

As to the prophet Jeremiah 9 he went while wearing sackcloth to 
King Cyrus. He further interceded with the Lord in favour of the 
people, and while standing in prayer before the Lord, he said : " O 
Lord, O Lord, O God of my spirit and of my body, 10 listen now to 
the supplication of Thy servant on behalf of the tribulations of this 

1 Was the author familiar with the Book of Enoch ? 
- P. omits " prayer." 3 Read abina in P. 

4 Not found verbatim in Gen. 

P. " We are slaves unto death for . . ." 

Remove the final aliph in P. 7 P. adds "in the firmament." 

3 P. " purified " or " appeared to." 

9 Here also the author is consistent with himself in placing Jeremiah in 

1J M. omits this sentence. 


people against whom the days of Thy wrath have ended. Fulfil (Thy 
promise about) the appointed time that Thou hast decreed for the de- 
liverance of Thy people." And the Lord summoned the angel Michael 
saying : " Make haste and go down to the land of the Chaldeans, 
and save the people and take them out of their captivity. If the in- 
habitants of Babylon impede them, I shall make heaven stick to the earth 
and I shall cause My wrath to dwell in them until they allow them to go 
from under their hands. Go also to the prophet Jeremiah, My elected 
one, and impart this news to him ; take him to the king of Babylon, 
and deliver the people from him. If the king of the Chaldeans impedes 
them I shall destroy him with his people as I destroyed Pharaoh in 
the times of yore with the Egyptians who were with him, and all his 

While the prophet Jeremiah was in the sepulchral vault l weeping 
over the sins of the people, 2 lo ! the angel Michael came to him and 
said to him : " Peace be with you, O elected prophet of God. 3 Grow 
cheerful because it is time for cheerfulness." * And the prophet Jeremiah 
looked at Michael, the angel of God, and said to him : " Here I am, 

angel of the Lord. I recognised thy greeting, and thy words have 
strengthened my bones. Where wast thou that thou didst not appear 
to me till this day in which I am in great trouble with this people, like 
a father with his children ? " And the angel said to the prophet 
Jeremiah : " Here I am to-day before you in order to deliver your 
people, because I have been sent by God for this purpose, on account 
of your prayer which has been accepted. Thus says the Lord whom 

1 serve, 6 ' I have mercy on this people and I wish to send them back to 
their land and their country in order that they may serve Me there. 
If the kings of Babylon ' do not allow them to go, I shall wax angry 
with them and destroy their land, in order to force them to send them 
back, and if in spite of this they refuse I shall do with them what I did 
with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.' " 

After the angel Michael had said this to the prophet Jeremiah, he 
addressed him thus : " You remain here until I go and summon all the 

1 The word used is the Greek vaos. What does the author mean by 
this term ? 

2 P. omits this sentence. ' 3 P. omits this sentence. 
4 P. adds " O man of God." 5 P. omits this sentence. 
6 M. " thou set-rest. " 7 P. omits. 


people to you." And the angel Michael went out and took the form 1 
of a Hebrew man, and assembled all the people of Israel in one place 
as if they were one man, and he repaired to those who were making 
bricks and clay and said to them : " You have worked sufficiently ; go 
now to your father Jeremiah, because the Lord has saved you from this 
toil." And he went to those who were hewing wood and drawing 
water, and said the same thing to them. And he went to town to those 
women who were weaving wool, and he said to them : " You have had 
enough work and toil ; the Lord has saved you from your work, and 
given you deliverance. Come on and go to your father Jeremiah.' 
And none was left, but all gathered together. The angel Michael 
gathered them all together with the prophet Jeremiah, - and all went to 
King Cyrus and to the first general of the Chaldeans. And Jeremiah 
said to Cyrus and to Emesis his first general. 3 " Listen to the words 
of the Lord, God of Israel." And he began to repeat to them the 
words uttered to him by the angel Michael. And Cyrus and Emesis 
said to the prophet Jeremiah : " And who is the God of Israel ? 
You, O Hebrews, return to your work, and throw such words away 
from you." And the king ordered the prophet Jeremiah to be flogged 
before them ; and this was done in a cruel way. 4 And King Cyrus 
and Emesis went then out of the palace, and ordered the super- 
intendents of the work of the Hebrews to strike the latter and torment 
them until they did their duty. And Cyrus and Emesis rode and 
went out themselves in order to torment the Hebrews. 

In that very hour a cloud and mist appeared, the earth shook, a 
big earthquake occurred, wind became fierce, the sun suffered eclipse 
in the middle of the day, and darkness covered the earth. The 
inhabitants of the earth mixed pell-mell, horsemen with the crowds, 
and the feet of the horses that were ridden sunk deep into the earth 
like pegs ; until all the Chaldeans cried to King Cyrus and to Emesis 
and said to them : "Is not this sufficient for you ? Do you wish 
the Lord to do with us 6 as He did with the Amorites ? " As to King 
Cyrus he fell from his horse and his backbone broke ; likewise the 
first general Emesis fell and his right arm broke to the elbow-joint. 

1 Read skubh in P. 

~ In P. it is Jeremiah who gathers them together. 

3 M. : vizier. 4 In P. " In your blasphemy." 

c P. " with you." 8 P. omits this sentence. 


Then the two cried : " O God of Abraham and God of Isaac 
and God of Israel, God of the Hebrews, have pity on us ; we have 
sinned against Thee, because we have not allowed Thy people to get 
out of our land. We pray Thee and beseech Thee, O Lord, to 
have mercy upon us and not to punish us for our sins. Pity us and 
heal us, and we shall let them go to their land in joy and peace." 
And the prophet Jeremiah had pity on them when he heard their 
words and their sobs, and he approached King Cyrus and raised him 
up from the ground and healed his bone which was broken ; he did 
likewise heal the arm of the first general of the Chaldeans. 

When the Lord noticed that their hearts had turned away from 
that on which they were bent, He gave orders l and the earth and all 
the inhabited globe became quiet, and the sun shone on the surface of 
the earth. Then King Cyrus and Emesis summoned the Hebrews, 
reckoned their working days, and paid them their wages in full, and 
gave them much gold and silver. 2 The king 3 helped then the prophet 
Jeremiah to mount his own steed, and clothed him in royal garments, 
and placed his crown upon his head, and delivered to him many 
horses, mules, and camels, 4 laden with provisions for the journey. He 
further wrote letters to all the land of the Chaldeans ordering (its 
inhabitants) to welcome the prophet Jeremiah and his people (when 
they passed by them), and wish them Godspeed in joy and merriment, 
and to honour them and render service to them until they left them. 
And the king presented also the prophet Jeremiah with twelve 5 

And the prophet Jeremiah left the towns of the Chaldeans with 
all the people of the Hebrews. The number of the Hebrews who 
went out of Babylon was eighty thousand thousand ; they had thus 
diminished by a hundred thousand thousand during their stay in 
captivity. 8 

When they left Babylon they began with prayers and supplica- 
tions, saying : " Rise, rise, O Jerusalem, and rejoice, and wear thy 

1 P. omits the verb. 2 M. omits " silver." 

3 In all the following sentences the subject in P. is "the King," but in 
M. the subject is the indefinite " they." 

4 Read jimal in P. for himal. This variant could not have arisen 
except through Arabic characters in which the letters jtin and ha are 
distinguished only by an extraneous dot. 

5 M. " ten." c P. adds " in Babylon." 


diadem in joy and gladness, because thy children who had left thee 
with tears, 1 fear, and sadness, 2 have come to thee with joy, 3 and 
jubilation." And the prophet Jeremiah went out to his land in joy 
and gladness, 4 and all the towns of the Chaldeans honoured him, and 
horsemen were riding before him up to Jerusalem in order to praise it 
and to honour it with the people ; and in this state they reached 

As to the servant Abimelech, he awoke from his sleep and went 
out of the place in which he was sleeping, and the stone that was 
over him moved away. 5 He looked at the basket 6 of grapes, figs, 
and other fruits T and saw that their dust was still on them, and noticed 
that the green foliage with which they were covered had become 
longer and broader. And Abimelech said to himself : "I have not 
overslept and my head is still heavy with sleep ; I shall get some 
more rest and rise up and go to town, because it is time for me to 
take some food to the prophet Jeremiah, my blessed father, who is in 

When Abimelech awoke from his sleep, exactly seventy years had 
elapsed. 8 He carried the basket d of grapes, figs, 10 and other fruits, 
which were as fresh as when they were picked, and entered Jerusalem. 
When he saw that its rampart was demolished and the town itself 
destroyed, and when he noticed that vines and fig-trees were just 
showing their buds, the palm-trees their spadices, and the sycamore 
trees their sprouts, he was amazed and bewildered. When he went 
inside the town and noticed that its streets had changed and its walls 
had either altered or were demolished, and that the destroyed buildings 
in it were reconstructed, and the reconstructed buildings in it destroyed, 
and when he did not find in it anyone whom he could recognise, his 
mind became confused, and he stood and said : " O my Lord and my 
God, what is this delusion that has u overtaken me ? " 

1 P. adds " in subjection." 2 Put a waw before the word in P. 

3 P. " peace." 4 M. omits this sentence. 

5 P. omits the last sentence. 6 M. " baskets." 

7 R&Afakihah in P. 

8 Cf. the story of the "Seven Sleepers." In 4 Baruch (Charles' 
Apocrypha and Pseud, ii. 533), Abimelech falls asleep in the garden of 
Agrippa and does not awake for sixty-six years and not seventy. See 
Harris, The Rest of the Words of Baruch, p. 1 3. 

9 M. " baskets." 10 P. omits " figs." n Read al-lati. 


Then he saw an old man collecting firewood, and he went to 
him, and the old man said to him : " What can I do for my son ? " * 
And he said to him : " What did King Zedekiah do to-day with my 
father, the prophet Jeremiah ? Did he free him from the dungeon ? " 
And the old man said to him : " What are these words you are 
uttering, my son ? Who is Zedekiah, and who is Jeremiah ? Seventy 
years have elapsed this day from the day in which Nebuchadnezzar 
destroyed Jerusalem, and carried the people into captivity to Babylon, 
and the prophet Jeremiah was among them." And Abimelech said 
to him : "Had you not been an old man I would have said to you 
that you were mad. I went a little while ago 2 to the garden of my 
master 3 and brought him fruits, but my eyes being somewhat heavy, 
I slept 4 for a short time. Is it in this short time that the people were 
carried into captivity ? Is it possible that darkness 5 has overtaken 
them and covered them ? Or that the moon 6 has swallowed them 
that I am unable to see any of them ? " 

The old man answered then and said : " You are truly a holy 
man, and God spared you the sight of the destruction of Jerusalem, 
the great tribulations of the road and the subjection to Nebuchadnez- 
zar. 7 He has brought down sleep upon you in order that you may 
see Jerusalem reconstructed as in the days of her glory. If you wish 
to ascertain the truth 8 of my words : this is the first day in which 
the prophet Jeremiah arrived accompanied by all the people ; this 
should be a proof for you that Jerusalem has returned to its former 
state. You are truly a holy man of the Lord, who had pity on you 
and granted you rest for seventy years, until the people came back to 
their place. O my son, these grapes and figs which are with you, 
the present time is not their season. Look, my son and you are a 
holy man of God look at the trees, 9 how they are at this time of 
year, and know that this is not the time for grapes and other fruits. 

1 In M. " and he went to him and said to him " Father, is this the town 
of Jerusalem?" 

2 Read, innama ana in P. for anakama. 

3 P. names here the master Hermis and distinguishes him from King 
Zedekiah whose servant Ebedmelech was. See above, p. 167. 

4 Read na'astu in P. 5 M. "the darkness of the night." 

6 P. " the firmament." "' P. omits the name. b P. omits. 

9 M. has here asjar the vulgar Arabic for ashjar (a sin instead of a 


This month is the month of April, 1 and this day is the first day in 
which the prophet Jeremiah reached Jerusalem, after a stay of seventy 
years in captivity. The words that you have uttered square with one 
another. Lo, the people are coming now and with them branches of 
palm-trees," and holding in their hands twigs of aromatic bushes and 

Then Abimelech saw the prophet Jeremiah riding the horse of the 
king and shining like the sun, and he hastened to him and bowed down 
before him. When Jeremiah saw him he dismounted from his horse, 
embraced him, cried aloud to him and said : "Be welcome, be 
welcome, O my beloved Abimelech ! Look at the honour that God 
bestowed on you. He does this to anyone who is merciful and 
charitable to his fellow- creatures. You had pity on me in the day of 
my tribulations, and the Lord has overshadowed you with His holy 
arm and placed you in a refreshing sleep till you saw Jerusalem re- 
constructed and glorified for the second time. You have not tasted 
of the food of subjection, 3 nor have you borne the yoke of King 
Nebuchadnezzar during the last seventy years which we spent in 
captivity and persecution. God spared you this great hardship 
because of your charitable deeds. Let all those who hear your story 
do acts of charity and mercy with everybody, 4 and God will spare 
them all trouble." ; 

When Jeremiah finished his address to him, they all entered 
the town together. And Abimelech did not cease to be held in 
honour by the prophet Jeremiah and by the rest of the people r ' all 
the time of his life. When the prophet Jeremiah entered the town 
he glorified God with this canticle : 

1 M. Ntsan (the Syriac and Hebrew month), but P. Barmudah, which 
seems to prove the Egyptian origin of the MS. from which the prototype of 
P. was derived. Barmudah extends from March 27th to April 25th. 

-In Arabic Kulub an-nakhl "the pith of palm-trees." The same 
expression is used in the Arabic Diatessaron of Ibn at-Tayib published by 
Ciasca (p. 1 49) to express John xii. 1 3. I believe that the word emanates 
from the Peshitta Old Testament (Lev. xxiii. 40) in which the Syriac words 
are exactly libbawatha d-dhikle. The Arabic expression seems to be a 
literal translation of the Syriac. See further Bulletin of the Bezan Club, 
No. iii. pp. 14-17, 1926. 

3 P. " death and troubles." 4 Read ahadin in P. 

' M. omits this sentence. 6 P. omits this sentence. 


" Rejoice, O Jerusalem ! * Arise and wear thy diadem. Thy 
sons had gone out of thee with tears and sadness, and have 
now come to thee in joy and jubilation. Let heaven rejoice and 
earth jubilate over the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, 
who have returned to their land. Let our fathers 2 take their 
harps in their hands, and sing before the Lord, because God has 
brought back again their children who had been carried into 
captivity in which they had almost perished ; Let Cherubim 3 
and Seraphim sing and praise with us over the sons of Abraham, 
and let them rejoice over the children of Israel who have returned 
again to their land and their country." 

When Jeremiah entered the door of the Temple, he said to the 
door-post : " To thee I say, O * threshold of the house of God, bring 
out the keys which 5 I had confided to thee." And it immediately 
brought out the keys and delivered them to the prophet Jeremiah. 
And he opened the door of the Temple and he went into it with all 
the people, and they worshipped before the Lord. And he entered 
the Holy of Holies where he saw the lamp burning as if it was fresh, 
and its light was shining, in the way in which he had left it, without 
diminution. It was with it that he had searched Jerusalem to discover 
if there was in it a man in whom there was mercy, and he did not 
find any. All of them worshipped God saying : " Holy, holy, holy ! 
Thou art, O Lord, a just Lord, in all Thy actions, 6 and Thou hast 
done everything with wisdom. Thou didst with us all this in order 
to punish us in the measure of our sins, and Thou hast requited us in 
proportion with our iniquities." 

The prophet Jeremiah called the sons of Aaron and said to them : 
" Arise now and offer sacrifices to the Lord, and be pure according to 
the prescriptions of your priesthood." ; And he also went up to the 
terrace of the house of the Lord, and he stood on the corner-stone, 
and said : " To thee I say, O stone, Open thy mouth and bring out 
thy trust : the garment of the High Priest, because we are in need of 

1 M. "Arise, arise." 

2 P. " Let our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob take their harps." 

3 The first letter of the word " Cherubim " is a shin instead of a kaf'm 
P. This also denotes the Egyptian (Coptic) origin of the prototype of P. 

4 Read aiyyatuha in P. 5 Read al-lati. 

M. " Thou art holy, O lord and just in all Thy actions." 
7 Read kahnutikum. 


it." And it brought out the garment, and Jeremiah handed it to the 
High Priest. And after that he went out before the sun, and said to 
it : " To thee, I say, O sun, the great luminary of heaven, bring out 
the mitre l which I confided to thee and on which is the name of the 
Lord, the Holy One, because the Lord had mercy on His people, 
and we are in need of it for the service of the altar." Then the 
prophet Jeremiah stretched his hand towards the rays of the sun and 
the mitre came down from it," and he handed it to the High Priest. 
And he handed also to the High Priest the rest of the vestments of 
the house of the Lord which 3 he had taken with him to Babylon. 

[And the head of the priests who came with them from captivity 
wore the priestly robe, the garment and the mitre on which was 
written the name of the Lord, and the prophet Jeremiah put on the 
garment of the prophetic office which God had ordered him to 
remove from him when he went into captivity and place in the Temple 
until his return from the deportation to Babylon and approached 
the sanctuary of the Lord. The latter was filled with the glory of 
God, which spread over all the Temple and the people, and the glory 
of the Lord increased upon them with His mercy. And the God of 
Israel dwelt among them with the Cherubim 4 and Seraphim]. 3 As to 
the sons of Aaron they performed their duty, each one according to 
his own rank and order, and shouted with their horns, 6 and offered 
sacrifices,' and the glory of the Lord descended and filled all the 
house. And the fire came down from heaven and consumed the 
holocaust. All the people observed as a feast the twenty-fifth day of 
April * and glorified the Lord with great joy." * 

as above (p. 173) it is very difficult to ascertain what was in 
the author's mind in using such terms as tailasan, kalansuah, tzar, mandil, 
and ridd '. 

- M. " And Jeremiah spread his mantle and the mitre fell in it." 

3 Read al-lati. 

4 Here again P. writes " Cherubim " with an initial shin, which denotes 
an Egyptian origin. 

5 All this paragraph between brackets is missing in M. 

6 P. adds "and harps." 

7 In Arabic hamalu "they lifted" which denotes the Syriac assek 
meaning " to lift " and " to offer sacrifice." (See above p. 1 80.) 

& Here again M. has the Hebrew-Syriac Ntsan and P. the Coptic 
Barmudah which indicates its Egyptian origin. 

9 Mingana 240 ends here with the following colophon : " Glory, praise, 
honour, and worship be to the Lord of hosts for ever and ever, Amen ! Here 



[And the prophet Jeremiah worshipped before the Lord and 
said : " Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel, and blessed be His name 
for ever and ever. He remembered His holy covenant and His oath 
to our father Abraham that his seed will last for ever. 1 He looked 
from the heights of heaven upon His people and the heirs of His 
inheritance, He saw their grief and the sobbing of their hearts, 
delivered them with His mighty arm and powerful hand, and brought 
them back to His holy Temple. To Him be glory, honour, majesty, 
and power, because He is the God of Israel, who destroyed His 
enemies who turned their hearts away from His service, and sacrificed 
to the idol of Baal, and worshipped it instead of God, their Lord, and 
offered incense to gods made with hands, and offered the blood of 
infants to the stars of heaven and to demons, and impeded them from 
walking in the way of God, their Lord. For this reason God 
delivered them to their enemies in order that they may wreak 
vengeance upon them. They uprooted their memory from the earth, 
and destroyed their seed from among the children of Israel, His 

[Then the prophet Jeremiah arose and turned 2 his face towards 
the people, and congratulated them on their safety and beautiful 
deliverance. He blessed them and made a covenant with them that 
they shall not relinquish the service of God, their Lord, and worship 
the idol of Baal for a second time. And they offered in that day 
numerous sacrifices, burnt-offerings, holocausts, and they rejoiced 
greatly in the house of the Lord, and thanked God immensely, and 
glorified His name, saying : " Blessed be the name of the Lord, God 
of Israel, who visited and delivered His people, and saved them from 
the hardships of the Chaldeans ; who took them out of Babylon and 

ends the story of the children of Israel and glory be to the Lord of lords, 
and King of kings, for evermore, Amen ! And praise be to the Lord of 
the worlds, Amen ! Here ends the story of the deportation of the children 
of Israel from Jerusalem into Babylon. May God have pity on the weak 
scribe, on the reader and the pious hearers. Amen ! Amen ! Amen ! " 

I give in the lines above between brackets the translation of the 
end of the story in the Paris MS. This end seems to be a later addition 
and is much under the influence of the Gospel of St. Luke i. 67-73. 

1 There is much resemblance between these words and the hymn of 
Zacharias in Luke i. 67, 72-73. 

" Read : amala. 


brought them to His land and His inheritance, which He granted to 
them ; who returned to them their kingdom, prophecy, and priest- 
hood ; who did not allow His wrath to dwell with them for ever, 
but had pity on them and delivered them." 

[And the people did not cease to serve God with a good and 
perfect service, and with offerings and sacrifices, in all the lifetime of 
the prophet Jeremiah. And glory, praise, and thanks be to the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore, Amen ! 

[Here ends, by the assistance of the Holy Trinity, this great story 
of the deportation of the children of Israel into Babylon. Remember, 
O Lord, Thy sinning servant, Cyriacus, 1 who is unworthy of the 
name of man, because of the great number of his sins. He copied 
this from a bad MS., and he who finds in it a mistake and corrects 
it, God will forgive him his sins, because its scribe is the weakest, the 
most imperfect, and the lowliest of all the (men) of the world.] 

1 The copyist. 



















































































(it) A New Life of John the Baptist. 

I give in the following pages the text and the translation (ac- 
companied by a critical apparatus) of an unknown life of John 
the Baptist. I have edited the text from two MSS. of my own 
collection, numbered Mingana Syr. 22 and Mingana Syr. 1 83, in the 
custody of the Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham. (Hereafter 
M. 22 and M. 183). In spite of a thorough search I have failed to 
discover the existence of a third MS. in the public libraries of Europe 
the catalogues of which are at my disposal. 

The MSS. exhibit short lacunae, but fortunately these lacunas do 
not affect identical passages, and by collating the two I was able to 
establish a complete, continuous, and unbroken text. M. 22 is also 
in many places in a bad state of preservation, and some words and 
occasionally whole lines have disappeared from it, apart from the 
lacuna of one leaf referred to in the present edition. This deficiency 
has, however, been supplied from M. 183 and the words that are 
missing in the former MS. are inserted between parentheses and 
marked (a a). M. 22 is dated 1838 of the Greeks (A.D. 1527) 
and M. 183 has no colophon, but on palaeographical grounds it may 
be ascribed to about A.D. 1750. In spite of some important variants, 
there is reason to believe that both MSS. represent a single recension 
of the story, although M. 22 may be supposed to have been written 
for the use of Egyptian Christians and M. 183 for that of Syrian 

If we are to believe the contents of the story, it was written by 
Serapion, bishop of a town in Egypt, during the Patriarchate of 
Theophilus who governed the sea of Alexandria in 385-412. But 
from the mention of Theodosius the Great in connection with some 
events of the narrative, it may be affirmed with a good deal of 
probability that Serapion was writing in one of the years falling within 
A.D. 385-395. 

If the story is a translation from Greek, as in many passages it 



appears to be, the translator must have used his proper names such as 
l Ain Karim, Assuan and Horns in the form in which they were 
known in his day. Without entering into minute details, I may 
state, however, that the text seems to contain sentences that have been 
interpolated by authors or copyists who might have lived at a date 
much later than that of Serapion. Some notes that I have ventured 
to add to the narrative will, I hope, help the reader to form his own 
opinion on the value of the story in the domain of history, exegesis, 
and Apocryphal literature. 

In the edition I placed in the main body of the page the text of M. 
22 and in the footnotes the various readings exhibited by M. 183, but 
in the translation I followed the text of either of the two MSS. that 
appeared to me to be more genuine and archaic. I have transcribed 
the text in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac characters) as it is found in the 
MSS., and given a facsimile of each MS. to show the reader its 
palaeographic peculiarities. The Arabic style used in the story is in 
correctness and excellency of diction about equal to that used in the 
" Apocryphal Jeremiah " published above. 


With the assistance of God and His divine guidance we begin to 
write the life of the holy Man John the Baptist, son of Zacharias : 
may his intercession be with us. Amen ! 

There was an aged priest- Levite l from the tribe of Judah, 
whose name was Zacharias. He was a prophet who rose among 
the children of Israel in the days of Herod, King of Judaea. He 
had a God-loving wife, called Elizabeth, 2 and she was from the 
daughters of Aaron, from the tribe of Levi. She was barren and 
had no children, and she and her husband were advanced in years. 
They were both righteous and pious people, guiding their steps by all 
the commandments and ordinances of God. And Zacharias was 
officiating constantly in the Temple of the Lord. When it fell to him, 

1 How could Zacharias have been at the same time a priest, a Levite, 
and from the tribe of Judah? Can Judah be a mistake for Abia t and can 
the preceding word Kabllah be translated by course, order (Luke i. 5, and 
1 Chron. xxiv. 1 0) ? 

2 M. 22 uses the Greek form of the name and M. 183 the Syriac form 


during the turn of his division, to burn incense to the Lord, he 
entered the Temple according to his habit, at the time of the burning 
of the incense, and the angel of the Lord appeared to him immediately, 
standing on the right of the altar. When Zacharias saw him he was 
frightened and startled. But the angel said to him : "Do not be 
afraid, but rather rejoice, O Zacharias ! God has heard your prayer, 
and your wife Elizabeth shall conceive and bear you a son, who shall 
be called John ; you shall have joy and delight, and many shall 
rejoice over his birth. He shall be great before the Lord, and he 
shall not drink any wine or strong drink, and he shall be filled with 
the Holy Spirit while still in the womb of his mother, and shall 
reconcile many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He 
shall go before Him in the spirit and with the power of Elijah, in 
order to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him." 

Zacharias was astonished at these words, and doubt overtook him, 
because no child had been born to him. He did not remember 
Abraham, the head of the Patriarchs, to whom God gave Isaac, after 
he had reached the age of a hundred years, nor his wife Sarah who 
was also barren like his own wife. Zacharias said, therefore, to the 
angel : " How can this happen to me while I am an old man, and my 
wife is advanced in years ? " 

And the angel answered and said to him : "I am the angel 
Gabriel. I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this news. 
And from now you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day 
when this takes place, because you did not believe my words, which 
will be fulfilled in due course." And he disappeared from his sight. 

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zacharias wondering at 
his remaining so long in the Temple. When he came out he was 
unable to speak to the people, and they perceived that he had seen a 
vision in the Temple, and he kept making signs to them. And as 
soon as his term of service was finished, he returned home. And 
Elizabeth got information of the affair (from God). 

In those days Elizabeth conceived, and lived in seclusion till the 
fifth month, 2 because she felt somewhat ashamed. She feared to 

1 Many of these data and of those which follow are more or less faithfully 
taken from the first chapter of Luke. 

2 M. 183 has the " sixth month." This appears to be against Luke i. 24. 
The discrepancy between the two texts can, however, be accounted for by 


appear in her old age while pregnant and milk dripping from her 
breasts. She lived in a secluded room l of her own house, and 
Zacharias also lived likewise. Between them stood a locked door, 
and they did not speak at all to anyone in all those days. 

When she reached her sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent 
from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed 
to a man named Joseph, from the house of David ; and the name of 
the virgin was Mary. When the angel came into her presence he 
said to her : 

" Rejoice, O Mary, because you have been favoured with a grace 
from God. You shall be with child and shall give birth to a son, 
who shall be called Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called 
1 Son of the Most High.'" And Mary said to the angel : " How 
can this happen to me while I have not known any man ? " And 
the angel said to her : " The Holy Spirit shall descend upon you, 
and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you, because the 
child that is born of you is holy and shall be called ' Son of God,' and 
lo Elizabeth who is related to you is also expecting a child in her old 
age, and it is now the sixth month with her who is called barren, 
because with God there is nothing impossible." And she had no 
doubt on the matter but said to the head of the angels : " I am the 
servant of the Lord, let it be with me as you have said." He then 
greeted her and disappeared. 

Mary was astonished at the fact that Elizabeth was expecting a 
child, and kept saying in her heart : " Thy acts are wonderful and 
great, O God Omnipotent, because Thou hast given descendants to 
an old and barren woman. I shall not cease walking until I have 
met her and beheld the wonderful miracle which God has performed 
in our times : a virgin giving birth to a child," and a barren woman 
suckling." 3 

In those days she rose up in haste and went into the hill-country, 
to the town of Judah, and she entered the house of Zacharias, and 

the fact that both of them may be referred to the end of the fifth month. 
The particle ila " till " may designate either the beginning or the end of a 
specified time. M. 22 takes this " till " to imply all (or the end of) the fifth 
month, and M. 183 uses the same "till" to mean only the beginning of the 
sixth month, or in other words the end of the fifth. 

1 Syr. Kaitona. * Presumably Mary herself. 

3 Presumably Elizabeth. 



greeted Elizabeth. The latter went to her with great joy and delight, 
and greeted her, saying : " Blessed are you among women and blessed 
is the fruit of your womb." 

The holy and pious virgin embraced then the true turtle-dove, 
and the Word baptised John while still in the womb of his mother. 
And David appeared in the middle and said : " Mercy and truth 
have met together, and righteousness and peace have kissed each 
other." 1 And immediately after John moved in the womb, as if 
wishing to come out and greet his master. After they had finished 
their mutual greetings, the Virgin stayed with Elizabeth three months, 
until the latter's time was near, and then returned to her home. 

When the holy Elizabeth gave birth (to her son) there was a 
great joy and delight in her house, and after eight days they went to 
circumcise him, and wished to call him Zacharias. His mother, 
however, said : " No, call him John." And they said to her : 
" You have no relation of that name." And she said to them : 
"Ask his father 2 about his name." And he asked for a writing- 
tablet and wrote thus : " His name is John." When he had written 
this he recovered the use of his tongue forthwith, and he glorified God 
who had granted him this great mercy, and uttered prophecies con- 
cerning his son John the Baptist, and was cognisant of the gift that he 
had received from God. 

John grew up in a beautiful childhood and sucked his mother two 
years. 3 The grace of God was on his face, and he grew up fortified 
by the Spirit. When Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, 
behold magians came from the East saying : " Where is he that is 
born, the King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the East 
and are come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard these 
words he was troubled by what he had heard from the magians that 
(that child) was the King of the Jews, and he immediately desired to 
kill him. 

Then the angel of the Lord appeared forthwith to Joseph and 
said to him : " Arise and take the child and his mother and flee into 
the land of Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word." 4 

l Ps. Ixxxv. 10. 2 Read abahu. 

3 This was, and often is now, a general habit in the East. 

4 Many of the above sentences are a more or less faithful rendering of the 
second chapter of Matthew. 


Then Herod sought the Master in order to destroy Him, but he did 
not find Him, and he began to kill all the children of Bethlehem. 
And Elizabeth feared, 'that her son John might be killed like them, 
and she took him immediately to Zacharias in the Temple, and she 
said to him : *' My lord, let us go with our son John to some other 
countries, in order to save him from Herod the unbeliever, who is 
murdering children because of Jesus the Christ. Mary and Joseph 
have already gone to the land of Egypt. Get up quickly that they 
may not kill our son, and change 1 our joy into grief." And 
Zacharias answered and said to her : "I must not leave the service 
of the Temple of the Lord and go to a foreign land the inhabitants of 
which worship idols." And she said to him : " What should I do in 
order to save my infant child ? " And the old man answered and said 
to her : " Arise and go to the wilderness of ' Ain Karim, 2 and by the 
will of God you will be able to save your son. If they seek after 
him, they will shed -my blood instead of his." 

How great was the amount of grief that occurred at that time 
when they separated from each other ! The holy Zacharias took the 
child to his bosom, blessed him, kissed him and said : " Woe is me, 
O my son John, O glory of my old age ! They have impeded me 
from having any access to your face which is full of grace." He then 
took him and went into the Temple, and blessed him, saying : "May 
God protect you in your journey ! " 

Immediately after Gabriel, the head of the angels, came down to 
him from heaven holding a raiment and a leathern girdle, and said to 
him : " O Zacharias, take these and put them on your son. God sent 
them to him from heaven. This raiment is that of Elijah, and this 
girdle that of Elisha." And the holy Zacharias took them from the 
angel, prayed over them and gave them to his son, and fastened on 

1 Read yarji. 

- Dr. C. Schick (Zeitsch. des Deut. Pal. Vereins, 1899, p. 86) writes: 
" Nach der Tradition ist 'Ain Karim, ein Dorf 1 4- Stunden wesdich von 
Jerusalem, der Geburtsort Johannes des Taufers." He further identifies 
wadi s-Sardr, half an hour west of 'Ain Karim, where there is a small 
spring of water called Ain al-Habs, with the "wilderness" of Matt. iii. I, 
in which John preached (ibid., p. 90). Schick discusses also the antiquity of 
the tradition on pp. 88-90 of his article (q-v-\ The wilderness of Judaea in 
which John dwelt is generally understood to mean the wild was** whirl h'es 
to the west of the Dead Sea. 


him the raiment which was of camel's hair with the leathern girdle. 
He then brought him back to his mother and said to her : " Take him 
and bring him into the desert, because the hand of the Lord is with 
him. I have learnt from God that he will stay in the desert till the 
day of his showing unto Israel." 

The blessed Elizabeth took the child while weeping and Zacharias 
also was weeping, and the latter said : "I know that I shall not see 
you again in the flesh. Go in peace. May God guide you." 
Elizabeth walked then away with her son, and went into the wilder- 
ness of 'Ain Karim, and stayed there with him. 

It happened that when King Herod sent troops to Jerusalem to 
kill its children, they 1 came and began to kill children till the evening. 
That day was the seventh of September. 2 When they began to return 
to their king, behold, Satan came to them and said : " How did you 
leave the son of Zacharias without killing him ? He is hidden with 
his father in the Temple. Do not spare him but kill him in order that 
the king may not wax angry with you. Go for him, and if you do 
not find the son, kill the father in his place." 

The troops did what Satan taught them, and went to the Temple 
early in the morning, and found Zacharias standing and serving the 
Lord, and they said to him : " Where is thy son whom thou hast 
hidden from us here ? " And he answered them : "I have no child 
here." They said to him : " You have a child whom you have hidden 
from the king." And he answered and said : " O cruel ones whose 
king drinks blood like a lioness, how long will you shed 3 the blood 
of innocent people ? " They said to him : " Bring out your child 
so that we may kill him ; if not, we shall kill you in his place." And 
the prophet answered and said : "As to my son, he has gone with 
his mother to the wilderness, and I do not know his whereabouts." 

Now when Zacharias has said goodbye to Elizabeth and his son 
John, he had blessed him and made him a priest, and afterwards 
delivered him to his mother, who said to him : " Pray over me O my 

1 Read ajnaduhu. 

2 7//, this month corresponds with September (old style). Inino Meno- 
logium or Marty rologium of the Eastern Churches as printed in the Pat. 
Orient, x. 1 -343 is the feast of the Holy Innocents referred to the seventh of 
September. The author apparently is writing here in a purely historical way 
without any reference to the ecclesiastical commemorations of saints. 

3 Read tasfikuna. 


holy father, so that God may render my path in the wilderness easy." 
And he said to her : " May He who made us beget our child in our 
old age, direct your path." Then she took the child and went into 
the wilderness in which no soul lived. 

" O * blessed Elizabeth, your story is truly wonderful and praise- 
worthy. You did not ask for an adult ' to accompany you, and you 
knew neither the way nor a hiding place. You did not care to provide 
food nor a little drinking water for the child. You did not say to his 
father Zacharias : ' To whom are you sending me in the wilderness ? * 
At that time there was neither a monastery in the desert nor a congrega- 
tion of monks so that you may say : ' I shall go and stay with them 
with my son.' Tell me, O blessed 3 Elizabeth : whom did you trust, 
inasmuch as the evangelist testifies to the fact that you were advanced 
in years without having had any child, and now you have been suckling 
this child of yours for three years ? " Listen now to the answer of 
the blessed Elizabeth : 

" Why are you astonished at me that I am going alone into the 
wilderness ? What should I fear while a kinsman of God is in my 
arms ? Behold Gabriel is accompanying me and paving the way for 
me." And she said : "I have confidence in the kiss that Mary, His 
mother, gave me, because when I greeted her the babe leaped with joy 
in my womb, and I heard both babes embracing each other in our 
wombs." And Elizabeth added : " I went and put on my son a 
raiment of camel's hair and a leathern girdle in order that the mountain 
of the holy wilderness may (in future) be inhabited, and in order that 
monasteries and congregations of monks may increase in it and that 
sacrifice may be offered in it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
If God assisted Hagar and her son when they wandered in the desert, 
and they were only slaves, how will He not apply to us the precedent 
that He has himself established beforehand ? " 

In the above words we have described to you the merits of the 
holy Elizabeth." Let us now proceed and commemorate the holy 

1 Read ayyatuha. - Read kabiran. 3 Read ayyatuha. 

4 The author stated above that John sucked his mother two years ; he 
probably refers here to the beginning of the third year. 

5 Read wa-yarfa'u. 

6 All the above lines are therefore a literary digression on the part of 
the author. The same thing happens below with regard to Zacharias. 


Zacharias, the martyr, 1 and relate to you a few of his numerous 
merits : 

" I should wish to praise your true life, but I fear to hear a reproof 
from you, similar to that you made to the blessed Elizabeth. I am 
full of admiration for you, O pious Zacharias ! In the time when the 
soldiers of Herod came to you and asked you saying : " Where is 
your infant son, the child of your old age ? " You did not deny the 
fact and say : "I have no knowledge of such a child," but you simply 
answered : *' His mother took him into the desert." And when 
Zacharias uttered these words to the soldiers concerning his son, they 
killed him inside the Temple, and the priests shrouded his body and 
placed it near that of his father Berechiah in a hidden cemetery, from 
fear of the wicked (king) ; and his blood boiled on the earth for fifty 
years, until Titus son of Vespasian, the Emperor of the Romans, came 
and destroyed Jerusalem and killed the Jewish priests for the blood of 
Zacharias, as the Lord ordered him. 2 

As to the blessed John he wandered in the desert with his mother, 
and God prepared for him locusts and wild honey as food, in accord- 
ance with what his mother was told about him not to let any unclean 
food enter his mouth. After five years the pious and blessed old 
mother Elizabeth passed away, 3 and the holy John sat weeping over 
her, as he did not know how to shroud her and bury her, because on 
the day of her death he was only seven years and six months old. 
And Herod also died the same day as the blessed Elizabeth. 4 

The Lord Jesus Christ who with His eyes sees heaven and 
earth saw His kinsman John sitting and weeping near his mother, 
and He also began to weep for a long time, without anyone knowing 
the cause of His weeping. When the mother of Jesus saw Him 
weeping, she said to Him : " Whay are you weeping ? Did the old 
man Joseph or any other one chide you ? " And the mouth that was 
full of life answered : " No, O my mother, the real reason is that your 

1 Possibly read as-shahid, 

2 This sentence about Titus and Vespasian is missing in M. 22. 

3 From Syriac ittriih. 

4 Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., but the Chronology on which the 
Christian era is based is of course erroneous. See the Encyclopedias and 
the Dictionaries of the Bible under " Chronology." Can any historical value 
be attached to our author's statement concerning the year of the death of 


kinswoman, the old Elizabeth, has left my beloved John an orphan. 
He is now weeping over her body which is lying in the mountain." 

When the Virgin heard this she began to weep over her kins- 
woman, and Jesus said to her : " Do not weep, O my virgin mother, 
you will see her in this very hour." And while he was still speaking 
with his mother, behold a luminous cloud came down and placed 
itself between them. And Jesus said : " Call Salome and let us take 
her with us." And they mounted the cloud which flew with them to 
the wilderness of 'Ain Karim and to the spot where lay the body of 
the blessed Elizabeth, and where the holy John was sitting. 

The Saviour said then to the cloud : " Leave us here at this side 
of the spot." And it immediately went, reached that spot, and 
departed. Its noise, however, reached the ears of Mar : John, who, 
seized with fear, left the body of his mother. A voice reached him 
immediately and said to him : " Do not be afraid, O John. I am 
Jesus Christ, your master. I am your kinsman Jesus, and I came to 
you with my beloved mother in order to attend to the business of the 
burial of the blessed Elizabeth, your happy mother, because she is my 
mother's kinswoman." When the blessed and holy John heard this, 
he turned back, and Christ the Lord and His virgin mother embraced 
him. Then the Saviour said to His virgin mother : " Arise, you and 
Salome, and wash the body." And they washed the body of the 
blessed Elizabeth in the spring from which she used to draw water for 
herself and her son. Then the holy virgin Mart " Mary got hold of 
the blessed (John) and wept over him, and cursed Herod on account 
of the numerous crimes which he had committed. Then Michael and 
Gabriel came down from heaven and dug a grave ; and the Saviour 
said to them : " Go and bring the soul of Zacharias, and the soul of 
the priest Simeon, 3 in order that they may sing while you bury the 
body." And Michael brought immediately the souls of Zacharias 
and Simeon, who shrouded the body of Elizabeth and sang for a long 
time over it. 

And the mother of Jesus and Salome wept, and the two priests 
made the sign of the cross * on the body and prayed over it three times 

1 Syriac word meaning " my Lord " used before the names of saints and 
of ecclesiastical dignitaries. 

Feminine of Mar explained in the previous note. 

3 The man spoken of in Luke ii. 25 sqq. 

4 Syr. rsham, which literally means " to imprint." 


before they laid it to rest in the grave ; then they buried it, and sealed 
the grave with the sign of the cross, and went back to their own places 
in peace. And Jesus Christ and His mother stayed near the blessed 
and the holy John seven days, and condoled with him at the death of 
his mother, and taught him how to live in the desert. And the day 
of the death of the blessed Elizabeth was the 1 5th of February. 1 

Then Jesus Christ said to His mother ; " Let us now go to the 
place where I may proceed with my work." The Virgin Mary wept 
immediately over the loneliness! of John, who was very young 2 and 
said : " We will take him with Vis, since he is an orphan without any- 
one." : But Jesus said to her : " This is not the will of My Father 
who is in the heavens. He shall remain in the wilderness till the day 
of his showing unto Israel. Instead of a desert full of wild beasts, he 
will walk 4 in a desert full of angels and prophets, as if they were 
multitudes of people. Here is also Gabriel, the head of the angels, 
whom I have appointed to protect him and to grant to him power 
from heaven. Further, I shall render the water of this spring of water 
as sweet and delicious to him as the milk he sucked from his mother. 
Who took care of him in his childhood ? Is it not I, O my mother, 
who love him more than all the world ? Zacharias also loved him, 
and I have ordered him to come to him and inquire after him, because 
although his body is buried in the earth, his soul is alive. 

" As to Elizabeth his mother, she will constantly visit him and 
comfort him, as if she was not dead at all. Blessed is she, O my 
mother, because she bore my beloved. Her mouth will never suffer 
putrefaction, because she kissed your pure lips ; and her tongue will 
not be dismembered in the earth, because she prophesied concerning 
you and said : " Happy is she who believed that the promise that she 
received from the Lord would be fulfilled " 5 ; nor will her womb 

1 In a Jacobite Menologium (Pat. Orient, x. 36) the feast of Elizabeth is 
fixed on the 1 6th of December. In another Menologium her death is assigned 
to the 1 0th of February (Pat. Orient, x. 1 40 index). In a Coptic- Arabic 
Menologium her feast is on the 26th Tut ( = 23 September). See Pat. 
Orient, x. 189, 233 (index) and 253. In the Ethiopia Menologium (Smith's 
Diet, of Christian Antiquities, i. 606) her feast is on the 16th Jakatit 
( = 10 February). I do not believe that any of the above dates (including 
that given by our document) has any historical value. 

2 Read saghiran. 3 Read ahadin. 
4 Read yasir (with sin). 8 Luke i. 45. 


decay in the earth, because her body, like her soul, shall suffer no 
putrefaction. And my beloved John will last for ever, and he will 
see us and be comforted." 

These words the Christ our Lord spoke to his mother, while John 
was in the desert And they mounted the cloud, and John looked at 
them and wept, and Mart 1 Mary wept also bitterly over him, saying : 
" Woe is me, O John, because you are alone in the desert without 
anyone.' Where is Zacharias, your father, and where is Elizabeth, 
your mother ? Let them come and weep 3 with me to-day." 

And Jesus Christ said to her : " Do not weep over this child, O 
my mother. I shall not forget him." And while he was uttering 
these word, behold the clouds lifted them up and brought them to 
Nazareth. And He fulfilled there everything pertaining to humanity 
except sin. 

And John dwelt in the desert, and God and His angels were 
with him. He lived in great asceticism and devotion. His only food 
was grass 4 and wild honey. He prayed constantly, fasted much and 
was in expectation of the salvation of Israel. 

And Herod the Younger who reigned over Judea, lived with 
his brother's wife, in the second year of his reign. He did not 
marry her openly, but he used to find an opportune moment 6 to send 
after her and usher her in his bedchamber which was full of corruption, 
and there perpetrate their abomination.' At that time Gabriel, head 
of the angels, taught John in the desert to say : " O King, you have 
no right to live with the wife of your brother, while he is still alive." ; 
And he repeated this, crying in the desert, as the angel had taught 
him. In the night people could hear his voice, and Herodias used to 
light a lamp and search the bedchamber, believing that somebody may 
have intruded into it, but found nobody, and only heard the voice. 

The two began then to have misgivings on account of this happen- 

1 See note of p. 447. ~ Read ahadin. 

Read in the dual form yatia and yabkia. 

4 The author seems to identify the " locusts " used in the Gospel in 
connection with the food of John, with a kind of grass. This is also the 
opinion of some ancient writers. 

5 I.e. Herod Antipas. This epithet is applied to him in order to dis- 
tinguish him from Herod the Great, son of Antipater. 

'RmdyifrniAnt. " Read nifdkahuma. 

8 Mark vi. 1 8. Read hayyun. 


ing, and Herodias said to Herod : " Arise and despatch troops to 
the desert of 'Am Karim, in order that they may kill John, because 
the voice we hear is his." God, however, was with the lad, and 
delivered him from their hands. When she ascertained that through 
him there would be no peace for her in her (iniquitous) act, she 
persuaded the wicked king who gave her the following promise : "If 
we happen to hear this voice again, we shall summon the magicians 
and inform them to take hold of John and kill him secretly." And 
the voice did not cease to worry them. 

And the wicked Herodias said : " How can this John, a 
wanderer in the desert and in the wilderness, a man whose body is 
not fit to wear the clothing of men, but a raiment of camel's hair, 
rebuke the king of his own country, whose authority extends to his 
own region ? " Then Herodias said to the king : " What pleases you 
to do, do it openly, and do not believe that anyone in this region will 
blame you for it, except John, and when opportunity offers itself we 
shall get rid of him." It is in this way that the adulteress set the 
heart of Herod on their sin, and persuaded him to deliver his brother l 
to death, and to marry her openly. 

And John did not cease to rebuke Herod every day in the desert 
until he was thirty years old. As to Jesus, He increased in wisdom, 
stature, and grace with God and men, 2 and did not show any deeds 
of His Divinity, but acted with humility towards all men. And when 
He was twelve years old, He began to rebuke the Teachers and 
deceivers of the people. And in the fifteenth year of the reign of Ti- 
berius Caesar, who reigned after Augustus, when Herod was tetrarch of 
Galilee, and when Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, in that year 
the word of God came unto John, son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 
He came into the countries that surround the Jordan 3 preaching and 
saying : " Repent ye for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." 4 And 
people from all the region of Judaea and Jerusalem went out to him 
and were baptised by him in the Jordan confessing their sins. 5 

In those days the Saviour came to him from Galilee to the Jordan 
and said to him : " Baptize me." When John saw God standing 
before him and wishing to be baptized by him, he was seized with 

1 Read akhahu. 2 Luke ii. 52. 3 Cf. Luke iii. 1 -3. 

4 Matt. iii. 2. 5 Mark i. 5, Matt. iii. 5-6. 


great fright and said to him : " He who made the children of Israel 
walk in the Red Sea and drink sweet water from a solid rock, 1 stands 
before His servant who is in need to be baptized with His Divine 
hands, and says ' Baptize me '" ! And he began to turn away from 
Him. But (Jesus) said to him : " Stop now ; it is thus that we must 
fulfil all righteousness." : 

Then both of them went down into the water, and the holy John 
baptized Him, saying : "I baptize the One Whom the Father has 
sent to establish 3 a great sacrament." 4 And immediately after the 
heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, like a dove. 
And John saw it face to face, and the Father cried saying : "This is my 
beloved Son in whom I delight, obey Him." And our Saviour came 
out of the water and went forthwith into the desert. As to John, he 
remained near the Jordan, baptizing all those who came to him. 

In that rime Herod rose against Philip his brother and intrigued 
against him with the Emperor Caesar, saying : " The one whom you 
have appointed to be the ruler of Trachoniris, 5 who is Philip, has mis- 
governed your region, and said : "I shall not pay tribute to the king 
because I am also a king." Cassar waxed greatly angry and ordered 
Herod to dispossess him of his region and to confiscate all his estate 
and his house, and not to have any pity, not even on his soul. Herod 
acted on the orders of the Emperor and plundered the region of his 
brother Philip with his house and all his possessions, and reigned over 
his region. 

And Philip had a wife called Herodias, who had a daughter by 
the same Philip, called Arcostiana. 6 The mother was even more 
adulteress than the daughter. When Philip became poorer than any- 
body else, Herodias hated him greatly, and said to him : "I shall not 
remain with you any more, but shall go to your new lord Herod who 
is better than you." Then she wrote immediately to Herod saying : 
" Herodias writes to Herod as follows : ' Now that you have all Syria 

1 Read samma. 2 Matt. iii. 1 5. 

3 Here are two pages in M. 22 filled with scribblings, diagrams, and com- 
putations by various owners, but the text of the life of the Baptist is continuous. 

4 Or : to fulfil a great mystery. 

5 In the original : Antarachonia. 

6 The name is given below as Uxoriana, which by its connection with the 
Latin uxor seems to be more accurate. M. 1 83 has, however, Orcostiriana. 
It is remarkable that the traditional Salome should appear under this 
uncommon name. 


under your sway and you reign over all the earth, you have not taken 
me as your wife. I am very beautiful and better than all the women 
of Judaea. I have also a daughter the like of whom I have never seen 
in all the world for beauty and stature. I wish to be your wife. I 
hated your brother l very much in order to strengthen your kingdom.' " 

When these cunning words reached the wicked (king), he was 
pleased with them, and he immediately gave orders that she and her 
daughter be taken out of the house of Philip. When Philip saw that 
his wife was being taken from him by force, he wept bitterly and said 
to his daughter : " You stay with your father in case your mother is 
taken from me." But the adulteress said to him : " I shall not stay 
with you, but shall accompany my mother wherever she goes." They 
were, therefore, taken both of them and presented to Herod, who was 
greatly pleased with them, 2 because he was an adulterer. 

They performed marvels of diabolical cunning, and the wicked 
king lived daily with both of them in adultery. Some people, how- 
ever, brought their story to the knowledge of John the Baptist on 
behalf of Philip, Herodias* husband. Now John was considered by 
all as a prophet, and everybody praised him because he was teaching 
the people and saying : " Bring forth fruits meet for repentance, because 
every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast 
into the fire." 3 

When John heard the news from Philip he was much afflicted at 
the perdition of Herod and Herodias, and he immediately sent a 
message to Herod and said to him : " John the Baptist, son of 
Zacharias, tells you, O Herod, that you have no right to marry the 
wife of your brother, while he is still alive." When Herod heard these 
words he was much frightened and perplexed, and he went to Herodias 
and said to her : " O Herodias, what shall we do ? It is the end of 
our sinful union as it has been brought to the knowledge of John the 
Baptist, and behold he has rebuked me. Woe to us, because our 
sins have increased greatly and reached the ears of the prophets." 

The wicked woman said then to him : " Long live you, O king ! 
Who is John, the wearer of camel's hair, to contradict and rebuke a 
mighty monarch like you ? He surely deserves that somebody should 

1 Read akhaka, 

2 Read bikima, and place all the following verbs in the dual form. 
3 Mattiii. 8, 10. 


pull out and cut off his tongue." And he said to her : " What can 
we do ? We cannot bear the rebuke of that great (prophet)." And 
she answered and said to him : " Summon him here and I will kill 
him, and we shall continue our mutual relations in peace." And she 
performed before him obscene acts and immoral artifices, and Satan 
filled his heart against the holy and just man Mar John l the Baptist, 
and he dispatched soldiers against him, who seized him and cast him 
in prison. 

Then Herodias summoned him out of prison to her presence and 
said to him : " What is your business with me, O chaste man, that 
you wish to separate me from the king ? I conjure you by the God of 
your father not to do this with me again. To tell you the truth, if 
you are silent concerning me and do not rebuke me another time, I 
shall deliver you from prison and bestow great favours upon you." 
And the holy Mar John the Baptist said to her : " I say to you, O 
Herodias, not to live with Herod while your husband Philip is alive." 
When the wicked woman heard this, she was incensed with anger 
against him and said to him : " You will surely die at my hands, and 
I shall put the hair of your head in the pillow on which ~ I lay my 
head with Herod, and I shall bury your head in the place where I 
wash after having enjoyed myself with the king." John then said to 
her : " The Lord will allow you to kill me but my head 3 you will 
not see. It will remain after me, and proclaim your iniquity and shame 
to all the world. Woe to you for my unjust murder, because your end 
is at hand." 

She then said to his keepers : " Take him and keep him in prison 
with fetters, and if he escapes, you shall lose your souls." And the 
soldiers took him and kept him in prison with chains. And Herodias 
tried to induce Herod to kill him, but he said to her : "I cannot kill 
him in this way. People will rise against me, drive me out, and bring 
accusation against me to the Emperor, who will take my kingdom 
from me as he took that of my brother Philip." And he said to her : 

1 See note of p. 447. ~ Read allati. 

z The Arabic text uses constantly the word ras " head " in feminine, 
which is absolutely contrary to the genius of all the Semitic languages. This 
proves that the work is of Egyptian origin, and that it emanates from a Greek 
or a Coptic original, or at least that it was written by a Copt who was under 
the influence of the language of Homer in which K6<f>a\TJ is feminine. 


" Show me a better method of doing away with him." l And she said 
to him : " I will tell you a word, and if you listen to it, you will have 
an opportunity of killing him." And he said to her : " Tell it to me." 
And she said to him : " Behold the envoys 2 of the king are with you, 
arise and prepare a dinner for them, to which you will invite all your 
high officials ; and your birthday falls also in these days. When people 
become hilarious and begin to get drunk with wine, I shall send in my 
daughter dressed in her best clothes, and she will dance before you, 
O king, with her sweet face. When she has done this ask her, saying, 
' Desire of me whatever you like,' and you will swear to her by the 
life of the Emperor that you will give her whatever she wishes. She 
will then ask for the head of John, and you will have an opportune 
moment to cut off his head." 

Herod was circumvented by the reasoning of the adulteress, and 
began to fulfil her desires, as he loved her because of her beauty and 
diabolical artifices. In that very day he prepared the dinner, and the 
messengers of the Emperor were sitting next to him. When they 
began to get drunk the accursed Uxoriana entered the room, and on 
her were strings of gold and silver, perfumes and jewellery of high 
value, and presented herself to all the company. She danced with a 
diabolical passion, and Satan filled the hearts of the guests with evil 
and passion through her iniquitous artfulness. All were pleased 3 with 
her, and Herod was proud 4 and said to her : " Ask me for whatever 
you like, and by the life of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar, I will give it 
to you, even if it be the half of my kingdom and my possessions." 5 
And she said what she was taught by her mother : "I wish here 6 to 
have the head of John the Baptist, on a dish." The king began to be 
very sad, on account of the oath he had taken by the life of the 
Emperor, and he owned to the guests that he was unable to break his 

He therefore dispatched an executioner, who went to the prison 
and there cut off John's head on a dish, on the second of the month of 

1 This sentence is missing in M. 122. 

2 Read rusul, 

3 Read surra. 
4 Or: thought. 

5 The story is in many places a faithful rendering of Mark ,iv. 1 7-29. 

6 Read hadha in M. 22. 


September, 1 and he brought it to Herod, who handed it to the girl, 
and the girl handed it to her mother. Now, before the messengers of 
the king and the executioner had gone to him, to behead him, John 
had said to his disciples : " Behold the king has sent men to cut off 
my head. They have already left with unsheathed swords in their 
hands, and with lanterns, lamps, and weapons." What is happening in 
this hour will happen in the night in which Christ will be betrayed. 
As to me, my head will be cut off and be shown on a dish, but the 
Christ will be lifted up on the cross, in order that He may purify all 
with His pure blood ; as to me I am going to my place, but woe to 
the king who ordered my head to be cut off ; many calamities will 
befall him, and the people of Israel will be scattered because of him. 
As to you, do not be afraid, because no one will be able to do you 
any harm." He then opened his mouth and blessed and glorified 
God for his incomprehensible gifts, saying : "I bless Thee and praise 
Thee, O invisible Father, O visible Son, 3 and O comforting Holy 

Let us now proceed to describe the story of the head of the blessed 
Mar John the Baptist. When it was brought before Herodias, the 
eyes of the holy John were open and his ears were hearing as in his 
lifetime. 4 The adulteress spoke then with ire before the head as 
follows : " O accursed one, who were not ashamed to look at the 
king in the face and answer him, I shall put out your eyes with my 

1 Ilul. M. 1 83 has : "On the twenty-ninth of the month of August 
The Armenian Synaxarium printed in Pat. Or. v. 454 fixes also the feast 
of the Decollation of the Baptist on the 1 9th of Navasard ( = 29th August). 
So also is the case with the Syrian Menologia and Martyrologia printed in 
Pat. Or. x. pp. 45, 85, 101, 106, 1 12, 129, and 131. In the Menologium 
printed ibid, on p. 53 this feast is assigned to the 15th of December. The 
same feast is assigned to the 7th of January on pp. 54, 69, 94, 103, 1 09, 1 1 7, 
and 129. In a Greek life of the saint printed in Pat. Or. iv. 527-541 the 
head is reported to have been cut off on the 29th of the month of Dystros, 
which in Graeco-Arab calendars of Gaza corresponds with 1 5th or 25th of 
March. None of the above dates seems to me to have any historical value. 
In the Greek Synaxarium of Constantinople printed by the Jesuit Delehaye in 
1 902 (Col. 934) the Baptist is also murdered on the 29th of August. For 
the date of the festival of the Decollation of the Baptist in the different 
churches of the West, see Smith's and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian 
Antiquities, i. 882-883. Cf. Acta SS. for June 24th, pp. '701-702. 

- Cf . John xviii. 3. 3 Read ru'iya. 4 Read alladhi. 


hands and place them on a dish, and I shall cut off the tongue which 
used to say to the king that it was unlawful for him to marry Herodias, 
his brother's wife. As to the hair of your head and of your beard I 
shall pluck it and place it under the feet of my bedstead." 

She said all this with malice and wickedness, and she stretched her 
hand to hold the head of Mar John the Baptist and do with it what 
she had said. But immediately after the head of the blessed John let 
the locks of its hair rise from the dish, and it flew to the middle of the 
convivial room before the king and his high officials. In that very 
moment the roof of the house was opened and the head of John flew 
in the air. As to Herodias her eyes were put out and fell on the 
floor and the roof of her room l fell upon her, and the earth opened 
her mouth and swallowed her up to her neck, and she went alive to 
the depth of hell. As to her daughter she became mad and broke all 
the utensils of the dinner party. In her madness she went to the icy 
pond and danced on it, and by order of the Lord the ice broke under 
her and she sank to her neck. In vain did the soldiers endeavour to 
pull her up, because the Lord did not wish her deliverance. Then 
they cut off her head with the very sword that was used to kill John 
the Baptist. Then a fish cast her out of the pond, dead. 2 May God 
not have mercy upon her ! 

In that moment Herod also had a sudden stroke before his guests. 
When his agent noticed these great miracles, he repaired quickly to the 
prison, took the body of the saint and gave it to his disciples, who took 
it to the town of Sebaste where they buried it, 3 near the bodyi of the 
prophet Elisha. As to his head, it flew over Jerusalem, and cried for 
three years to the town, saying : " It is not lawful for you, O Herod, 
to marry the wife of your brother while he is still alive." After it 
had cried for three years, it went to all the world shouting and pro- 

1 From Syr. kaitona as above. 

2 In the apocryphal Letter of Herod to Pilate it is written: "My 
daughter Herodias was playing upon the water (i.e. the ice) and fell in up to 
her neck. And her mother caught at her head to save her, and it was cut 
off, and the water swept her body away. My wife is sitting with the head 
on her knees weeping." James' The Apocryphal New Testament, pp. 1 55- 
1 56. The Syriac text of the letter has been edited by Rahmani, Studia 
Syriaca, ii, 17-18. 

3 Even in the time of Yakut, the well known Muslim geographer, the grave 
of John the Baptist was shown at Sebaste (Mu l jam al Buldan, iii. 33, edit. 


claiming the horrible crime of Herod, and repeating the words : " It 
is not lawful for you, O Herod, to marry the wife of your brother 
while he is still alive." 

Fifteen years after it had been cut off it ceased proclaiming, and 
rested on the town of Horns. 1 The faithful who were in that town 
took it and buried it with great pomp. A long time after, a church 
was built on it, which is still standing in our time. And the head of 
the holy John the Baptist was buried there fifteen years after the 
resurrection of Christ, the Lord, and it remained there down to our 
own days. 2 

As to the body of the holy John the Baptist, the saint whose feast 
we are celebrating to-day, 3 it remained in Sebaste which is Nabulus 
of Samaria 4 for four hundred years. Then a pagan king, whose name 
was Julian, reigned over the world. He had been a Christian at the 
beginning of his reign, but after that Satan filled his heart and he for- 
sook the faith of our Lord the Christ and worshipped fire. He ordered 
temples and places of worship to be built in every place where idols could 
be worshipped, and intimated that such a temple should be erected in 
the town of Sebaste where lay the body of the holy Baptist. People, 
however, were unable to comply with the order and to worship idols 
in that place, on account of the (holy) bodies that were buried there. 

They, therefore, assembled and informed the Emperor that as 
bodies of holy men were buried there, they had been delayed in their 

1 The well known north Syrian town. Hims would be a more exact 
pronunciation of the word. The same Arab geographer, Yakut, tells us 
(ibid. ii. 335) that a fourth part of the Church of St. John at Horns was 
turned into a mosque at the time of the Arab conquest. According to the 
Coptic MS. No. 97 of kef.R.L. (Crum's Catalogue, p. 50) the relics of the 
Baptist were discovered near Emesa by the brothers Gesius and Isidorus. 
See further parallels in Acta SS. June 24th., pp. 712 sqq. 

2 The author was therefore writing before die sixth century or the time in 
which a head supposed to be that of John the Baptist was sent to Constantinople. 
See Barsalibi's Treatise against the Melchites and my notes on it (pp. 43- 
44). In the author's time of writing, which according to the present story is, 
by necessity, a year within A.D. 385-395, the head of the saint was still at Emesa. 

3 The present history is, therefore, a kind of homily or panegyric 
pronounced or written by Bishop Serapion. 

* The clause "which is Nabulus of Samaria," only found in M. 183 and 
not in M. 22, is apparently an addition of a late copyist. In a preceding 
passage where the text of M. 22 has no lacuna the same clause is missing in 
it although found as in the present case in M. 1 83, which on the whole seems 
to represent a more modern recension of the story. 



building of the temples. Then he said to them : " Go and burn (the 
bodies) with fire." The Lord, however, did not allow the fire to come 
near the place where lay the coffins of the prophets, but the same fire 
consumed a great number of the pagans who had kindled it, and great 
treasures were brought to light there. Above one of the coffins was 
seen a vessel containing a leathern girdle, a raiment of camel's hair, a 
frock, and two leathern belts. The faithful who were in that place 
understood immediately that the coffins belonged l to John the Baptist 
and to the prophet Elisha, and they wished to remove them from there, 
but from fear of the wicked Emperor they were not able to do so. 2 
When, however, God destroyed him with a death more wretched 
than that of any other, pious men assembled there and carried the 
two coffins to the sea with the intention of bringing them to Alexandria, 
to the holy Father, the Patriarch Athanasius, 3 because they said : 
' There is in these days no one in the world worthy to take care of 
these except Father Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria." 

When they reached the sea they found a boat bound for 
Alexandria, and they boarded it with the coffins. They journeyed 
on the sea and landed on the shores of Alexandria, but as they weri 
unable to disclose their affair to any one because the time was not 
convenient for that, they went direct to the Patriarch and related to 
him all that had occurred, and how they were moved by the Holy 
Spirit to bring the coffins to him. He was greatly pleased with them 
and went by night to the boat with his brother, and they took the 
remains in a kerchief and brought them with them, and (the Patriarch) 
placed them with him in a place in his dwelling, and ;he did not 
disclose their whereabouts to anyone. And this Father wished to 
build a church to John the Baptist, and he was not able to do so 
because of the troubles caused by the wicked ones. 4 

The bodies remained therefore hidden in the place 5 in which 
Father Athanasius had secretly placed them, until the time of his 

1 Read hiya for hum. The construction of the Arabic sentence denotes 
a Syriac or a Greek original. 

2 This is against the statement of Theodoret who relates that the coffin of 
the saint was broken and his remains were burnt and their ashes scattered. 
Pat. Gr. Ixxxii. 1091. See above p. 43. 

3 Athanasius was Patriarch of Alexandria from 328 to 373. 

4 Arians ? 

5 The word here used generally means "fountain." Can it refer to 
baptismal font ? 


death. After his death he was succeeded by Father Peter, 1 whose 
throne was occupied after his death by Father Timothy, 2 who 
ordained my humble self, your Father Serapion, 3 to this see, without 
merits on my part 

After his death, he was succeeded by Father Theophilus * who 
is now sitting on the (Patriarchal) see, In his time the grace of 
God increased, and the faith was strengthened through the pious 
Theodosius 5 and God united the Emperor and the Patriarch with 
ties of love. The former threw open the temples in which were 
treasures, and especially the great temple of Alexandria, in which 
there was great quantity of gold and silver. And the pious 
Theodosius honoured the Patriarch, made him superintendent of all 
the treasures, and said to him : " O Father Theophilus, take these 
and enrich the churches with them, from this town to Aswan, 1 for the 
glory of God and His saints." After this he began to build churches. 
The first church to be built was one under the name of the holy Mar 
John the Baptist in the great city of Alexandria. He adorned it 
and made it a great church and wished to place in it the body of the 
holy Mar John the Baptist. When he had finished it completely, he 
thought of consecrating it,' and he sent immediately to all the bishops 
under his jurisdiction to congregate for the consecration of the church. 

The invitation was also sent to my weakness, and I went with 
the rest of the bishops to the Pope, 8 the Father Theophilus of 

1 Peter ii. succeeded Athanasius from 373 to 380. 

2 Timothy succeeded Peter from 380 to 385. 

8 1 cannot ascertain the identity of this Serapion, who was evidently a 
bishop of a town in Egypt. For chronological reasons he cannot apparently 
be identified with Serapion Scholasticus, bishop of Thmuis, nor with Serapion, 
bishop of Tentyra. 

4 Theophilus was Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 4 1 2. He is credited 
with an Apocryphal vision which describes the flight of Christ into Egypt and 
the mode of life of the holy family in that country. Cf. Baumstark, Gesch. d. 
Syr. Lit. p. 70, and Syr. MS. Mingana, No. 5 ff. 1-18 b and No. 39 ff. 56 b- 
70 b , both in the custody of Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham. 

Theodosius died in 395. 

6 Or : Assuan. A town in Upper Egypt and Capital of the Egyptian 
province of Nubia and of the district called in antiquity Yebu, " land of 
elephants." The island of Elephantine is included in it, and in Greek times 
it was called Syene. 

7 Read bitakrisiha. 

8 The word "Pope" was in early times applied to the Patriarchs of 
Alexandria and not of Rome. 


Alexandria. When it came to his knowledge that all the bishops 
were nearing the city of Alexandria, he was pleased with us, like one 
who had found much booty. He came out to meet us accompanied 
by all the (clergy) who were in the city. We entered the city and 
stayed some days with him. After this he began to consecrate : the 
church, and he took us and showed 2 it to us, and we found in it 
wonderful buildings, 3 and he said to us : " O my children, this is the 
place designated for the purpose by Athanasius, whom time did not 
favour." And Father Theophilus added : "I was walking with 
them while I was a simple acolyte at that time and serving him. 
And when he came to this place, he said to me : " O my son, 
Theophilus, if you can find opportunity, build in this place a church 
to Mar John the Baptist and place his bones in it, and after I had 
built this place, I remembered the saying of the man of God, the 
Father Athanasius, especially when I bethought me that my Father 
was like the prophet David, who wished to build a house to God, 
but was not favoured with it, on account of wars in which he was 
continually engaged, and God said to him : " Thou shalt not build a 
house for me, but the one who comes out of thy loins shall build it for 
me,"* and this was Solomon. Since I have finished with the wars 
against the pagans, I considered myself worthy of building this church 
which is under the name of the holy Mar John the Baptist, the 
morning star." 

When the second of the month of June came, he took us to the 
place where the body was placed, and we did not know the right 
spot, but after praying nocturns God showed it to him. And when 
he brought it out, he called all the inhabitants of the town and they 
assembled to him with many lanterns and lamps so that the night 
shone like day. He let the bishops carry the coffin on their heads 
and the Patriarch preceded them, and the deacons were singing with 
majesty and splendour, until we brought the coffin to the church in 
great pomp. When we entered the church, the Patriarch took hold 
of the coffin, embraced it, and allowed all the people to be blessed by 
the holy body, which he placed afterwards inside the church on a 
chair at a corner of the altar. He then prepared to consecrate the 

1 Read bi-takris. 2 Read arana. 

1 Read abniatan 'ajlbatan. 

4 1 Chron. xxriii. 3, 6 ; Cf. 2 Sam. Tii. 1 3 ; 1 Kings v. 3. 


church in that day, and we said mass, and all of us received the 
sacrament from the Patriarch, and it was the second day of the month 

After this the Patriarch said goodbye to us, and we left the town, 
each one of us going to his own country, in the peace of God. 
Amen. 2 And the body of the holy Mar John the Baptist wrought 
miracles, prodigies, and wonders of healings in the people of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. The miracles (which we will mention below) will bear 
witness to this. 

Praise, glory, and power are due to you, O Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit who is one in nature, now, always, and for ever 
and ever. 

l ln M. 183 heziran (June). The second day of the Coptic month 
Baouna corresponds with our 27th of May. In the Arab Coptic Menologia 
(Pat. Or. x. 204), the feast of the finding of the bones of the Baptist actually 
falls on the second day of Baouna or the 27th of May. That a church was 
built in Alexandria in order to contain the supposed relics of the Baptist sent 
from Sebaste to Athanasius is attested by Rufinus, Hist. Eccl. xi. 28 ; Theo- 
doret, Hist. Eccl. iii. 3 ; Theophanes, Chronographia, i. 1 1 7 (edit. Classen). 
It seems therefore to be historical that a church was built in Alexandria 
under the name of the Baptist by Theodosius the Great on the site of the 
temple of Serapis, and finished under the reign of Arcadius. On the other 
hand it seems to me false to assert that the church contained any bones of the 
saint. See Barsalibi's Treatise against the Melchites on p. 43, and for further 
details see Smith's and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, i. 
881-884. The Ada SS. for June 24 (pp. 71 1-808) contain a full repertory 
of traditions concerning the history of the Baptist's relics. 

' The story ends here. What follows appears to be by a later hand. 


In the name of God, one in nature, and three in persons and 
attributes, and by the help and assistance of God we will narrate 
the miracles of the precursor, Saint John the Baptist, which 1 God 
wrought through him on the day of the consecration 2 of his Church. 
May his intercession be with us ! Amen. 

The First Miracle. 

There was in the town a girl of a respectable family, the pangs of 
whose labour had lasted three days without having been delivered of 
her child, as it was her first babe. The midwives who were present 
said s to her parents : " The babe has died in her womb, and she 
cannot live." All began to weep over her because she was much 
loved by them. When men who were carrying the body of Mar 
John the Baptist to the church reached the house of the girl singing, 
she asked her parents : " What are these voices ? " They answered 
her : "A Christian was martyred for the name of Jesus Christ, 
and the Christians are carrying his body and observing a feast 
for him." 

Now the girl and her parents were pagans. And she said to 
them : ** Carry me to this window so that I may see the body." 
And four attendants carried her and brought her to the spot she had 
desired. When she looked down she saw a great and indescribable 
pomp, and she cried aloud : " O my Lord Jesus Christ for whose 
holy name this man has been martyred, deliver me from this calamity 
of mine, through the intercession of this holy man, in order that all 
may know that you, Jesus Christ, are the only God." While she 
was saying these words, the babe who was in her womb came out 
while she was being carried, and he was found to be alive. People 
were amazed and cried, saying : " Jesus Christ, the God of this 
martyr, 4 is the only God." And all of them believed and gave to the 
infant the name of John, and were baptised in the Church of Mar 
John the Baptist, and remained Christian till the day in which they 
passed away in the peace of the Lord. Amen. 

1 Read al-lati. 2 As usual read takrls. 

1 Read kunna yakulna. 4 Read ash-shah'td. 


The Second Miracle. 

A rich official * of the town had a daughter betrothed to a man. 
A great wedding was prepared ~ for her because she was very rich. 
On the night in which her husband was to be with her, the holy 
Mar John, the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared to her in 
great glory, and she was frightened, but he said to her : " Do you 
know who I am ? " And she answered : " No, my lord." And 
he said : " I am John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ When 
you rise to-morrow go to my church, and take the sign and abundance 
of your salvation from what you will see on my grave where my body 
lies." And he disappeared from her sight. 

And she rose in the night and went and sat near the door of the 
church till the morning. When the door of the church was opened 
she made haste and entered and went to the place in which the coffin 
was buried. She immediately saw on the grave of the holy Mar 
John the Baptist a garment of sackcloth, a belt of leather, and a veil. 
When she noticed them she was amazed and said : " This garment 
is not for a worldly life," and she ascertained that God wanted her to 
be a virgin. She then threw immediately in the church the garment 
of gold that she was wearing, and put on that which she saw on the 
grave, and went out glorifying God and His saint, Mar John the 
Baptist, and she became a virgin till the day of her death through 
the intercession of John the Baptist. May this intercession be with 
us ! Amen. 

The Third Miracle. 

There was in the town a cripple who worshipped idols. Every- 
one 3 knew him, children and grown ups. When he walked he used 
to drag his feet on the ground and wrap tightly on them a piece of 
leather in order that they might not move to and fro. He used to sit 
every day at the door of the church in order to receive alms from the 

One day he made bold to enter the church, in order to put oil on 
his feet from the lamp of the martyr Mar John the Baptist. For this 
purpose he loosened the leather that was wrapped on his feet and 

1 Greek apxcov through the Syriac arkona. 

- Or : he prepared. 3 Read ahadin. 


oiled them from the oil of the lamp. Immediately after his limbs 
became strong. When he noticed the miracle he raised himself up 
and cried, saying : " The God of Mar John the Baptist is the one 
true God." He then received the baptism and became a Christian 
till he died in the peace of the Lord. Amen. 

The Fourth Miracle. 

There was in the town a woman afflicted with dropsy, and her 
body was swollen all over. She was very rich, but no physician * 
was able to heal her. She rose up and went to the church of the 
holy Mar John the Baptist and was oiled with the oil of the lamp 
which burns before the body of the saint, towards the sanctuary ; and 
she slept there. While she was asleep her body was torn open and 
all the foul matter went out of it, and she awakened from her sleep 
sound and in good health. And she went home glorifying God to 
whom be everlasting glory ! Amen. 

The Fifth Miracle. 

There were two blind men in the town who were friendly to each 
other 2 and ate jointly from the same alms. They went 3 to the 
church of the holy Mar John the Baptist and oiled their eyes with the 
oil of the lamp that burns over the body of the saint. The eyes of 
one of them saw but not those of the other. The latter had a heavy 
heart, stood up and confessed to God, saying : " O my Lord Jesus 
have pity on the weakness of my faith, and give light to my eyes as 
Thou gavest to those of my friend, because to Thee belong power, 
glory, and honour for ever and ever. Amen." He recited this 
.prayer to the Lord on the grave of the blessed saint Mar John the 
Baptist, and he immediately saw, and he and all the onlookers 
glorified God. 

Glory, power, and majesty be to the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit who is consubstantial, One God, now, always, and for 
ever and ever ! Amen. 

: Read ahadun. "Read liba'dihima. 



Icni ja* J>ol 


.ft n <p 

( & 


oil } 


-V Am 7^ 


. ,sAmV> 




^ 10 [l?oi] 




OO1 \3\ Oil 

1 Omits. a Omits. 3 ^. 
* Oil v fc>0. 6 .N^^v throughout. 

sentence before the preceding one. 

4 ^CtLijO^ very often. 
7 Omits. 8 Places this 

u Omits. 




]ao . oui 

)_.o? ^]i ou] 

l ? oi AJ 


i>a_co]o >oo]> 

AS? AoalAo 


Acoj] jfi>Vn^v JaiAlk s [A A^ 
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61000 .i^iSs A^aZ j^rO^ ^.o? y]liolk )cn\ 
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OOI. 8 .O Ao>. 9 ^ 

]3 . 



m V| PT> Vr> 


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m m . r>^ . .; v^ 


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jolt 1>OV1 OUJ^Z ,iO ^SOO . loiA^ +*2) A Am/ft 

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2 Omits. 3 ^ 


U^loo >o;V)V ^2 oikuj 'Mi ]j|J > 

r^l .Asolk jSLoo^cn AV>cr> ] Vi\g> . oil 

>])] Aoollo ?OOljJ^v ^AVn OU] -nr>r> V 


.A Aoo] ^/LM ^]joi ^20 J^D .j] wJk ^ajoilo GI!D]O 


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10 M lol ^A*- jjl ^L |So oil 


001 >on2) . oui 


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* Adds r^. 6 Adds . 7 Adds ^J. 8 iQ^. And so 

throughout. 9 Adds loi. 10 Omits. " ^aio}o ^Aa]. " Adds 
ooio. 13 Adds u 16 




..\ ft ^USQuL ^SO Up] -ffft.,0^ iOOIpla . -v Aft 

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.J^ 010 


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. Ol . 

^001 p. 2 Adds ooi. 3 oij. * Adds -oi 
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i8 Adds oiolAslo. " Adds koiloi. 


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OLkll ^]^ \L*O* Ollo] 

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* OLTr&v **> <~L 

(* au]o i>o_D- P ^ r ooi a ) *; 

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. . i i n 

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. la Omits. 



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OlSOS. 7 Omits. 8 Adds ]3o. * ^p\. w Adds 

11 Omits. 


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O1,SA ff> V) ZZ] & Ol'^J 

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]Zo. AodlA OlOJjls vOJOlO Olio] 


Jo wtZ 

001 oi^ao . imSn^ ,am^ Jo 



1 Adds J. 2 Adds*>lL^. 3 Omits. 4 Adds wLal. 6 >OJ. 
6 Omits. 7 Here begins a lacuna in Mingana 183. 8 In the following 
lines the words placed between parentheses and ending with an interrogation 
point have only been guessed, as they are more or less illegible or hare com* 
pletely disappeared from Mingana 22. 



, ^A Jo-XL cfiJAa A^l ^ .oujo-riOi AiAo 0101^0 


^ ]omV 

oin V>so CTLlo .. Lo oiov^ !>o ai sn m 


^s, y)im A^ . 21 o] V> m^ 

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jj 001 

As . 

S o w^=: :j 02,10", OlffiQ.. 



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] i>. 




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pi au]o au>ooLJL aiJaD ^Ai (&> 0010 

tDiVs ('c) CTLS^^ j^. 

. !>ooio]ii 11 V> n o ^Aj 

[i] AJ^OO Zo^!L nsVmt .SiN^ a >1o 
,**] .1 

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Vi?0*rl. 4 Omits. 6 Adds OO1. 


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( a jyjjAa ^^1 6i_i-2>? ) Zo^ik Ijoi .Wim i 


] [ 



, loiSn * \n] 

oijoi ^ ],**] ^ ^ U . IJ 
v la OI^JSD IJ^Q Uo 1?te .U-o* [ 3 ]-ooo - 

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. jioi alia) ^Al2 [*] 

rn <>r> ^ ^ . .^ ^ot . .]_Q_2 5 r. ^x . cr> <>n^ " .vr> m . 



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\L\Q 't 



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^ 1 

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r io < |o U^, > >n 

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* .Al. B Adds OUiD -,^1. 6 Omits. 7 JDOSaAj^a throughout. 


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A ^oa] (| r> 
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. i \j\. 

la Adds , 


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ail Al^oo [ n ]1rv An ft.. cnoa'fiSQiL AZ ]>ai AiSojco 

2 ^4^ Simi . 3 Adds . 4 

6 - oio loZ]o aiQ^noo jUI Adds 

8 Omits. 'Adds* 100 1 " Add* 


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p A..} 


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8 Adds 001 . 7 l>lo . 8 oimn]3 . 9 Omits. 10 
11 Adds 2 " ^U^^aio io] . " oilooiA]o . 


>QDQU>] "> i & V .\V>^ H^UaO] ^^jZ Uo - Av 

]au]o . 




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) poAco |j 

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ai] o\ 


k. . 4 

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9 Omits. 


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10 [*Q^]o>] A ^ m *~. . ^rt^ t 

^ ^ ^ 

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) kuj*. Jk [] ^^ A pftA ^ . IOLOJLA 
12 [**A!ivi 6u^o]]l As Zjmao 



i>oau]o . 

jflL . , 

3 oiDoL.o . * Adds lou]o . 

' loiZo]>JO loi^aa. T Omits. 'Omits. Adds 

^ . w ^>ViO? . Adds Aam] . " ^^ . Add 

Z^o>o , iS^^v oi'rMA wJk Alo, IOUQI.! ^s *oio 
o lai/u,Z r 

t n v> OU2} A Am] w* 

^t ]3 Ol^lL . rnA.Vn u .m. o^ f m . 

-rr>V^]f joi . I 


1 [ -x, 0010 
[ 3 ] 2 [A&ioo ouUSalk ***) rrnoZ v iim oiZJJZ 

dim ft*)*") ^QoZo ^>.Z mv.^n 

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aiico ^ai, dimVn A\Vn) ,1 oJ^. ^LM oaio 

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f \rs V> 

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oil HAJ ^^ .mi.n^ rO aucc> 

w01 OUU,^^ ] 5 

v A 

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U^ ^ jJOniSi !X>010 

ou] Ao . UA^ y>oiao^M] la^iol 2>ooil A]ns ou]o 

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1 Omits. Here begins a lacuna in Mingana 22. 3 Omits also. 

3 Adds 


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A |1 ^r> en] o 

9/0] oLkO* aiZoioo Z|Loo 

cnZ]^V> ,12 ^loo 


] m Vo .^ ^; Vo ^ O * " *^^ 


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ryt iOOlO ! ( o^'r 

A. VV 


^.<^Vn j 

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1 Here ends the lacuna of Mingana 22. * Adds 


( a 01,120 ) OUCDp -Av .rrtV 1 

01 V) M Zioi^ OLlo^l *A>O . ^v .moiA^D 001 

^}o .[] DQAflDO>oU il^lV^ /UOO 

] ^^ 


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3 Adds erroneously Q*aV,CO ]>O1 
4 Adds *r*^^ v Vn^ 6 
'Adds -01. "Omits. r 



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. oil 

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. 3 ^ 3 Omits. * Omits. 6 Adds oill 

6 Omits all, and has instead : .m.,<W 

7 1oi2>)]o. 8 5*001^0^,. 9 Adds 1r>l 
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Aoolio o. V ^.fts Ir 21> 

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[] -jlL 01\,V^ ^JSO . ',^0 13]k3 loll v b 6 [ V B] 


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(as usual). 2 Omits. 3 nOl*^ 4 Omits. s Omits. 

6 Adds v] ?1>] . T Omits (erroneously.) 8 A^S . 9 Adds OO1 
10 oup. ". 


) oiXl oir^ic&D A&SDO oi;*"inViV Aalj cnZ-.o 



Aoollo .\iin^ A^v^ ^oouoi>o 

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2 ^ * 


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6 iov<^v . 6 Omiti. 7 Adds 

Omits. " Omits. u Adds ^^iol 12 Adds 


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[10] . m 

1 Omits. 3 ,V^SV> . 3 lA wA . * .iliS . 5 Adds 
-01 . 6 Omits. 7 Omits. 8 Omits. Adds J>Q^ JO3 
10 Adds ^ 





x^ ^y 1 

M. 22 



(iii) Uncanonical Psalms. 


I give in the following pages the text and the translation of five 
uncanonical Psalms. Psalm 1 is found in many MSS. of the Syriac 
Psalter x where it is known as Ps. cli. and where it is often introduced 
as follows : " This Psalm was said by David on himself, when he 
fought Goliath." It is a translation from Greek, but I have remarked 
in a footnote that its first verse seems, in thought but not in phraseology, 
to be reminiscent of the corresponding verse of the famous Gnostic 
" Hymn of the Soul." If this comparison were proved to be possible, 
we would be allowed to hold the contrary view, viz. that the " Hymn " 
itself was under the influence of the " Psalm" ; this, however, is a 
question on which we cannot dwell at present as it is beyond the scope 
of our present studies. 

The four other Psalms are only found in the interesting work entitled 
Durrasha, " Discipline," or more generally mawatha, " Centuries," 
of the Nestorian writer Elijah of Anbar who died about 940. The 
work is represented by some other MSS. 2 all of which are, however, 
much later than the one marked Mingana Syr. 3 1 in the custody of 
the Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham. 3 The MS. has unfortunately 
lost a few of its final leaves and is consequently undated, but on palaeo- 
graphic grounds it may be assigned to about A.D. 1 340. It formerly 
belonged to the Nestorian writer Isho'yahb bar Mukaddam 4 who 
died about 1 445, and who in an inscription on fol. 90b informs us 
that he collated a large part of it with an autograph of the author 
himself. There is reason to believe that at least six out of the eight 
other MSS. in existence are mere transcripts of this Mingana Syr. 
31. A fascimile of the pages containing the Psalms accompanies the 

1 See, for instance, vol. i. pp. 35, 124, 125, 137, 138, 140,405 of 
Wright's Catalogue of the B.M. MSS. 

<J Mentioned by Baumstark, Gesch. d. Syr. Lit. 238. 

3 It was lately acquired by me in Kurdistan. 

4 See about him Baumstark, *ibid. , p. 329, 



translation. I have also compared the translation with Syr. MS. 
Mingana 51 (ff. 100M05 a ) of about A.D. 1550, in the custody of 
Rendel Harris Library, Birmingham. 

The source of the author for some of these uncanonical Psalms is 
unknown to me, but there is no doubt that he was drawing upon 
excellent material at his disposal. There is in the matter of elevation 
of thought and diction considerable difference between all these un- 
canonical Psalms, and in reading those numbered 2 and 3 we almost 
feel that we are perusing the Bible itself. Their Hebrew parallelism 
is perfect and there are grounds for believing that they are a direct 
translation from Hebrew or Aramaic Psalms 1 , 4-5 refer more or 
less distinctly to the deliverance of David from the wild beasts of 
1 Sam. xvii. 34-36. 


The Five Psalms of David, which are not written in the Series 

of the Psalms. 


Thanksgivings of David. 

I was the youngest of my brothers, and a child in the house of my 
father. 1 I shepherded the sheep of my father, and met a lion and 
also a wolf,' 2 and I slew them and rent them. My hands made an 
organ, and my fingers fitted a harp. Who will show me to my Lord ? 
He, my Lord, became my God. 3 He sent his angel and removed 
me from the sheep of my father, and anointed me with the oil of 
unction. 4 The Lord was not pleased with my elder and handsome 
brothers, and I went to meet the Philistine, who cursed me by his 
idols ; but I unsheathed his sword, cut off his head, and banished the 
insult from the children of Israel. 

1 Compare this verse with the beginning of the Edessene Gnostic hymn 
of the Soul : " While I was a small child, and dwelling in my kingdom in 
the house of my father." Bedjan's Acta, iii. 110. 

" From 1 Sam. xvii. 34-36 we know that David was met by a lion 
and a bear and not a wolf. The variant may be explained by the graphic 
resemblance that exists in Syriac between the words bear and wolf. This 
verse is missing in Greek. 

3 The Greek is : " Who will show it to my Lord ? He is the Lord, 
He heareth me." 

4 The Greek is : "Of His unction." 


' 2. 

Prayer of Hezekiah when Surrounded by Enemies. 

Praise God with a loud voice, and proclaim His glory in the 
congregation of many people. Praise His magnificence in the 
assembly of the just, and make known His majesty in the company 
of the pious. Extol His praise, and narrate His exalted dignity in 
unison with the righteous. Unite your souls l with the good and with 
the meek in order to magnify the Most High. Gather together in 
order to proclaim His might, and be not tired in showing forth His 
salvation, His power, and His glory to all the children. It is in order 
that the majesty of the Lord may be made manifest that Wisdom has 
been given, and it is in order that it may proclaim His works that it 
has been made known to men ; for the spreading of His might among 
the children, and instructing the weak-hearted in His glory : 
those who are remote from its good advices, and far from its 
doors. Because the Lord of Jacob is high, and His majesty is on all 
His servants. 2 The Most High shall be as pleased with the one who 
magnifies Him as with the one who offers pure flour, and the one 
who offers he-goats and calves, and the one who makes the altar 
smell with the odour of many holocausts, and as with the incense from 
the hands of the righteous. His voice is heard from thy 3 righteous 
doors, and there is admonition from the voice of the pious, and true 
satisfaction from their food and their drink, when taken in fellowship. 
Their resting place is in the law of the Most High, and their speech 
is for the proclamation of His might. How remote is His word from 
the wicked, and how difficult it is for all evildoers to understand it ! 
Behold the eye of the Lord looks upon the righteous, and He will 
increase His mercy on those who praise Him, and from the time of 
evil He will deliver their soul. Blessed be the Lord who delivered 
the needy from the hand of the strangers, and saved the meek from the 
hand of the evildoers, who raises power 4 from Jacob, and the judge of 
the Gentiles from Israel, in order that He may lengthen His sojourn in 
Zion and adorn all our people of Jerusalem. 

1 Or : yourselves. 2 Or : His works. 

a I.e. Wisdom (fern.). 4 Lit. " Horn." 



When the People Received Permission from Cyrus to Re- 
turn to their Country. 

O Lord, I have cried to Thee : listen to me ; I have lifted my 
hands to the habitations of Thy holiness : incline Thy ear to me, and 
grant me my request, and do not refuse my prayer. Build my soul, 
and do not destroy it, and do not expose it before the unrighteous. 
Remove from me those who would requite me with evil, O Lord, 
just judge. Do not judge me according to my sins, because all flesh 
does not triumph before Thee. Make me, O Lord, understand Thy 
law and teach me Thy judgments, and many will hear Thy works 
and the Gentiles will bear witness 1 to Thy majesty. Remember me, 
and do not forget me, and do not inflict on me calamities more than I 
can bear." Cast away from me the sins of my youth, 3 and let them 
not remember my chastisement. Purify me, O Lord, from the evil 
leper, 4 and let him not keep walking to me. Dry up his roots from me, 
and let not his leaves stretch over me. O Lord, Thou art great, and 
that is why my prayer is answered. Whom should I implore to give 
me anything, and what is the power of the sons of men before Thee, 
O Lord, my trust ? I cried to the Lord, and He answered me and 
made whole the wound of my heart. I lay down and slept, I 
dreamed and was helped, and Thou, O Lord, hast sustained me. 
They have wounded my heart, but I shall receive (joy) because the 
Lord has delivered me : let me rejoice now in their confusion ! I 
trusted in Thee and I shall not be confounded : grant honour for 
ever, and for ever and ever save Israel, Thy elect, and the children of 
Jacob, Thy chosen. 


Said by David when Fighting the Lion and the Wolf which 
took a Sheep from his Flock. 

O my God, O my God, come to my help. Help me and save 
me. Deliver my soul from the murderer. Let me not go down to 
Sheol in the mouth of the lion, and let the wolf devour me not. Is 

] Or: thank. 

- Lit. " Do not make me enter the things that are harder than I am." 

3 Cf.Ps.xxY. 7. 4 Or: leprosy. 


it not sufficient for them that they lay in wait for the flock of my 
father, and took out a lamb from the flock of my father, that they wish 
now to destroy my soul ? Have pity, O Lord, and deliver Thy 
elect from destruction, in order that he may repeat Thy praises in all 
his moments, and glorify the name of Thy Majesty. When Thou hast 
delivered him from the hands of the lion which destroys and the wolf 
which devours, and Thou hast returned the booty from the hands of 
the beasts. O my Lord, 1 send speedily a deliverer from before Thee, 
and pull me out of the open abyss that wishes to secure me in its 


Said by David when Thanking God who saved him from 
the Lion and the Wolf both of which he Killed. 

Praise the Lord, O ye all the peoples ; magnify Him and bless 
His name, because He has delivered the soul of His elect from the 
hands of death, and saved His chosen from destruction. And He 
delivered me from the snare of Sheol, and my soul also from the 
unfathomable pit. Because if my salvation had not come from Him 
but a very short time before it did come, I would have been cut into 
two pieces for two beasts. He sent, however, His angel who closed 
the open jaws which were about to devour me, and saved my life 
from destruction. Let my soul magnify Him and exalt Him for all 
His favours that He did and is doing for me. 

ir The Hebrew word Adonai. 









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8. WAS ROME A TWIN-TOWN ? Pp. 27. 2s. net. 

11. EGYPT IN BRITAIN. Pp. 19. 2s. net. 




THE BOOK OF RELIGION AND EMPIRE. A semi-official defence and exposition of 
Islam, written by order at the Court and with the assistance of the Caliph Mutawakkil 
(A.D. 847-861). By Ali Tabari. Translated with a critical apparatus from an apparently 
unique MS. in the John Rylands Library by A. Mingana, D.D. 8vo, pp. xxiv, 174. Cloth. 
10s. 6d. net. Arabic Text, 8vo, pp. 144. 5s. net. 

%* Hitherto, as far as we have been able to ascertain, no such apology of Islam, of so early a 
date, and of such outstanding importance, by a learned Muhammadan doctor, has been known to 
exist. The work is of first-rate importance to the Muslim, and not of less importance to every 
oriental scholar, whilst to those interested in theological questions it cannot fail to be of interest. It 
follows generally the " Apology of the Christian Faith " of Al Kindi, which the author probably 
intended to refute. It contains about 130 long Biblical quotations to prove the divine mission 
of the prophet, which follow the Syriac version of the Bible, said in the MS. to have been trans- 
lated by " Marcus the Interpreter," who may probably be identified with " Mark the Evangelist," 
who is credited by a Syriac authority with having made a translation of the Old Testament into 
Aramaic or Syriac. 

LIBRARY. I. A new life of Clement of Rome ; 2. The Book of Shem, Son of Noah ; 
3. Fragment from the Philosopher Andronicus and Asaph, the Historian of the Jews. Syriac 
Texts edited with translations by A. Mingana, D.D. 1917. 8vo, pp. 62. Boards, 2s. net. 
THE ODES AND PSALMS OF SOLOMON. Facsimile in collotype of the original Syriac 
manuscript in the John Rylands Library, accompanied by a typographical reprint or trans- 
literation of the text, a revised translation in English Versicles, and an exhaustive introduction 
dealing with the variations of the fragmentary manuscripts in the British Museum, the accessory 
patristic testimonies, and a summary of the most important criticisms that have appeared since 
its first publication in 1909. By J. Rendel Harris, M.A., D.Litt., etc., Hon. Fellow of Clare 
College, Cambridge, and Alphonse Mingana, D.D. 2 vols. 4to. 
Vol. 1 : The text, with facsimile reproductions. 10s. 6d. net. 
Vol. 2 : Translation and introduction. 1 guinea net. 

THE ASCENT OF OLYMPUS. By J. Rendel Harris, M.A., D.Litt., etc. Demy 8vo, 
pp. 140. 20 Illustrations. 5s. net. 

%* A reprint, with corrections, expansions, justifications, and additional illustrations, of the 
four articles on Greek Mythology, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, and Dionysos, which have appeared 
in the " Bulletin " from time to time. 

THE EVOLUTION OF THE DRAGON. By G. Elliot Smith, M.A., M.D., F.R.S., 
etc. 1919. Demy 8vo, pp. xx, 234, with 26 plates and many illustrations in the text. Cloth. 
10s. 6d. net. 

%* An elaboration of three lectures delivered in the John Rylands Library on "Incense and 
Libations," " Dr i<i< ns and Rain Gods," and "The Birth of Aphrodite". 
F. M. Powicke, M.A., Litt.D. 1922. 8vo, pp. vi, 1 12, with facsimile. 3s. 6d. net. 
** Compiled, translated, and edited from a twelfth century MS. recently acquired by the John 
Rylands Library, and another MS. in Jesus College, Cambridge. 

LIBRARY. Reproduced in facsimile. With an introduction and descriptive notes by 
Campbell Dodgson, M.A. Folio. Ten plates, of which two are in colour, and 16 pp. of 
text, in a portfolio. 7s. 6d. net. 

%* Two of these woodcuts are of exceptional interest and importance, and have been known 
and celebrated for a century and a half, but have not hitherto been reproduced in a satisfactory 
manner by any of the modern photo-mechanical processes. The two woodcuts referred to represent 
"St. Christopher" and "The Annunciation," the former of which has acquired a great celebrity 
by reason of the date (1423) which it bears, and which, until recently, gave to it the unchallenged 
position of the first dated woodcut. 

LIBRARY. By W. E. Crum, M.A. 1909. 4lo, pp. xii, 273. 12 plates of facsimiles, in 
collotype. 2 guineas net. 

%* The collection includes a series of private letters considerably older than any in Coptic 
hitherto known, in addition to many manuscripts of great theological and historical interest. Many 
of the texts are reproduced in extenso. 

The above are published by THE MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY PRESS, 33 Lime Grove, 
Manchester, and LONGMANS, GREEN & CO., LTD., 39 Paternoster Row, London, B.C., 
New York, Toronto, Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. They may also be obtained from the 
Librarian of THE JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY, Manchester. 


oo i 






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